Exquisitely Carved Antique Chinese Ivory Figures Realize $45,000 at Ahlers & Ogletree’s

This pair of exquisitely carved Chinese antique ivory figures, each carving standing 35 ¾ inches tall, was sold as one lot and realized $45,000 at a New Year’s auction held Jan. 4-5 by Ahlers & Ogletree in Atlanta.

ATLANTA – A pair of exquisitely carved and detailed Chinese antique ivory tusk figures on fitted rectangular bases with scrolled feet sold as one lot for $45,000 at a New Year’s auction held Jan. 4-5 by Ahlers & Ogletree. The tusks were the top lot in a sale that grossed a little over $1 million.

The monumental figures—one of a man, one of a woman, each carving standing 35 ¾ inches tall—were depicted at full length and in the round. One showed an emperor with a long wavy beard holding a document in his hands. The other figure was of a female empress with eyes closed, holding a ribboned item in one hand and a basket of flowers in the other. Both had a storage box.

About 200 people attended the auction in person each day, while more than 2,000 bidders registered online through LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable (formerly Artfact.com). In addition, phone bids were recorded on 350 lots and many absentee bids were also submitted. Headlining the auction was the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Marie Patton of Atlanta.

“New Year’s auctions tend to be strong and this one was no exception,” said Robert Ahlers of Ahlers & Ogletree. “It was refreshing to see such vigor on the part of the bidders. There was a lot of energy, both in the room and online, and I attribute that to the fresh estate merchandise in the auction. That always leads to spirited bidding and we sure had plenty of that.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted are hammer, exclusive of a sliding scale buyer’s premium):

This diamond necklace with two tanzanite stones, a total diamond weight of 8.38 carats brought $18,000.

• A dazzling ladies’ diamond necklace featuring two vibrant blue tanzanite stones changed hands for $18,000. The necklace featured a diamond-studded flower bud decoration on a chain leading to a blue circular faceted tanzanite surrounded in diamonds, above another brilliant-cut tanzanite surrounded by diamond accents. The piece had a total diamond weight of 8.38 carats;

• An antique hand-woven serapi rug, made circa 1900 and measuring about 9 feet by 14 feet, brought $15,000; a 1921 Steinway & Sons Music Room Model A baby grand piano in an ebonized satinwood case and with a leather tufted piano bench fetched $12,000; and a large 19th-century French sofa with carved gilt wood undulating frame in the Louis XVI style hit $10,000;

• Original artwork did well across the board. A late 16th century oil on canvas work after Michelangelo de Caravaggio (It., 1571-1610), titled “The Lute Player,” 1597 and depicting a bust portrait of a boy musician rose to $13,000; and a finely rendered 19th-century Italian School oil on canvas of an active Venetian carnival festival in the manner of Tiepolo breezed to $14,000;

• An oil on copper panel depiction of a man with a white beard in knight’s armor in an outdoor setting by Charles-Emile Auguste Carolus-Durand (Fr., 1837-1917), titled “Homme en Armure” (“Man in Armor”) sold for $8,000; and a monumental oil on canvas painting of three nude female beauties as nymphs by Jules Victor Verdier (Fr., 1861-1926), titled “Nymphs,” hit $10,000;

• In the watches and jewelry category, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner two-tone watch with 3-carat diamond bezel around a black face, with a stainless steel watch band, gaveled for $8,500; and an 18-inch-long, 18kt yellow gold and diamond necklace with two panther (or leopard) heads with mouths clamped around a diamond-mounted circular ring realized $6,250; 

An oil on copper panel depiction of a man with a white beard in knight’s armor in an outdoor setting by Charles-Emile Auguste Carolus-Durand (Fr., 1837-1917), titled “Homme en Armure” (“Man in Armor”) sold for $8,000.

A monumental oil on canvas painting of three nude female beauties as nymphs by Jules Victor Verdier (Fr., 1861-1926), titled “Nymphs,” hit $10,000.

• A National Basketball Association 2001 Los Angeles Lakers men’s championship 14kt yellow gold ring with two .25 solitaire cut diamonds above 22 solitaire cut accent diamonds, size 11 ½ , achieved $7,000. Also, a late 19th-century (circa 1898) English 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun with walnut stock, metal engraving and scrolled foliate decoration commanded $5,500;

• Two very different tables each generated much bidder interest. One was a 17th-century clockworks constructed from hand blacksmithing, possibly taken from an Italian church and later converted into the base for a rectangular glass-top table ($7,250). The other was an Italian marble table with round dentate patterned top, urn-shaped pedestal and three paw feet ($5,500);

• Returning to fine art, an oil on canvas depiction of “Still Life With Pears, Apples and Sunflower” by British painter Gerald Cooper (1899-1974), 20 inches by 24 inches less the frame, knocked down at $6,000; and a 19th-century Continental School four-panel folding screen hand-painted with an idyllic fictitious landscape, each panel 83 inches by 24 inches, sold for $5,500.

Ahlers & Ogletree’s next big auction is slated for Sunday, March 16, and will feature Mid-century Modern design pieces from the estate of Walter Glenn of Atlanta. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, call 404.869.2478, e-mail to info@aandoauctions.com or visit the Ahlers & Ogletree website.


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