Ritchies, the Toronto auction house founded in 1967 and declared bankrupt in 2009, are trading again. And in spectacular style.
The new-look firm retains the name of
'Canada's premier auction house' but is, in effect, a different
company. Businessmen Kashif Khan and his partner Ravi Poddar
announced their purchase of the Ritchies name from the trustee in
bankruptcy in October 2011.
Their 180-lot November 25 sale of Asian art
was enlivened by the remarkable competition between two overseas
buyers for the Qianlong mark and period blue and white
It was consigned for sale by members of the
Manchu Aisin Gioro family, who - as descendants of the last Qing
emperor - maintain a low profile in Thailand, said Jackie Kung,
Ritchies' Asian specialist.
The classic Ming-style 'heaping and piling'
decoration bears many similarities to the Yongzheng (1722-35)
bottle vase recently sold by Tennants in Leyburn for £2.6m.
It has been suggested that the iconography
of Ritchies' vase - three five-clawed dragons, one three-claw
dragon - indicates it was made in the third year of the reign of
the emperor Qianlong (1735-96) out of reverence for his father.
According to Chinese Imperial tradition, three years was symbolic
of the time in which Chinese emperors kept the ruling traditions of
their predecessors alive.
Ritchies estimated their 13½in
(34.5cm) high vase at $180,000-300,000. The final selling price of
Can$3m (£2m) bettered the Can$1.9m (£1.27m) the auctioneers took
for a rare tuotai cup in June.