Chinese Export Silver Proves its Buoyancy at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auction

This pair of Qianlong Chinese export silver gilt filigree vases and covers, unmarked, late 18th century, with ball finials to the domed covers, realized $40,600 to lead 13 pieces of Chinese Export Silver in an auction hosted by Dreweatts & Bloomsbury on Feb. 26, 2014.

NEWBURY, England – Thirteen individual lots of Chinese Export Silver realized more than $92,000 in a mixed sale of fine silver and objects of vertu at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions Wednesday, demonstrating that as a silver category, Chinese Export Silver is by far the most consistently buoyant.

A star lot of the sale was the pair of silver gilt filigree lidded urns attributed to the Canton silversmith Pao Ying. The urns achieved a price of $40,600. Much of the Chinese silver filigree items in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg—most of which belonged to Catherine the Great—come from the same stable.

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury is the first major auction house in the world to recognize the importance of Chinese Export Silver as an antique silver category. Having recently appointed Worthologist Adrien von Ferscht as a consultant, it is currently the only auction house to have specialist expertise for Chinese Export Silver; Von Ferscht is considered the world expert and is the only academic carrying out in-depth research into this highly complex silver category.

Chinese Export Silver is currently one of the only silver categories to escape being consigned for scrap; a dangerous trend that affects even fine Georgian silver. By taking the decision to acquire the best expertise possible, this sale has shown that Chinese Export Silver is a high performer and has bolstered Dreweatts’ endeavors to establish itself as the only address for both collectors and consignees to receive trusted and accurate identification of individual pieces.

James Nicholson, deputy chairman of Dreweatts and International head of silver for the company, understands von Ferscht’s frustration about most auction houses to providing lackluster catalogue entries for Chinese Export Silver and their inability to correctly identify marks and age.

“There is little point in referring to marks and being of Chinese characters when the majority of collectors are Chinese”, said von Ferscht.

This pair of Qianlong Chinese export silver gilt filigree pedestal vases and covers, unmarked, late 18th century, the domed covers and ovoid bodies decorated overall with filigree flowers, foliage and fruit, sold for 36,350, selling to a Hong Kong buyer.

A heavy Chinese Export Silver tea pot by Wong Shing (Wong Hsing), Canton, with pseudo English marks, circa 1820-60, sold for $8,100 to a Chinese buyer in Australia.

Nicholson is adamant that Dreweatts will create a whole new benchmark for handling this special silver category.

A second pair of unmarked Chinese Export silver gilt filigree lidded urns on stands achieved a hammer value of $36,350, selling to a Hong Kong buyer. A single teapot by the Canton and Shanghai retail silversmith Wo Shing sold for $8,100 to a Chinese buyer in Australia. All 13 Chinese Export Silver lots sold.

For more information about this auction, visit the Dreweatts & Bloomsbury website.

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