Auctioneers

The auction process is a key part of the secondary art and antiques market.

Firms of auctioneers usually specialise in a number of fields such as jewellery, ceramics, paintings, Asian art or coins but many also hold general sales where the goods available are not defined by a particular genre and are usually lower in value.

Auctioneers often provide other services such as probate and insurance valuations.

Ritual wine vessel is blessed at $8.4m

26 March 2001

US: HIGHLIGHT of Asia week in New York was this 2ft 1in (63cm) high bronze ritual wine vessel of the late Shang/early Western Zhou period offered at Christie’s on March 20, where it became the most expensive oriental work of art ever sold at auction.

Euclid’s Elementa

26 March 2001

In a beautifully preserved contemporary, and possibly Austrian binding of blind-stamped calf with brass fittings, this copy of Erhard Ratdolt’s 1482, first printing of Euclid’s Elementa, shows some slight waterstaining to the lower margins, but it remains one of the largest and freshest copies in existence – taller than even the Doheny, Honeyman-Garden and Haskell F. Norman copies.

Thucydides and a King James Bible

26 March 2001

A superb example of “the quintessential Italian Renaissance book”, a 1545 first of the first Italian translation of Thucydides in a fine Apollo & Pegasus binding made for the famous library of G.B. Grimaldi – a collection of some 200 key works formed under the supervision of the Roman humanist Tolomei. It sold for $140,000 (£96,550).

Probier Buchlein... and Bergwerk...

26 March 2001

The former Honeyman copy of the Probier Buchlein... and Bergwerk..., two rare booklets on assaying dated 1524 and ’33 (the latter with two leaves in photocopy) produced one of the shock results of Haskell F. Norman sale in 1998 when it made $80,000 – 20 times the estimate.

Hortus sanitatis and the Atlas minéralogique de la France...

26 March 2001

A spread from a 1491 first edition of the most comprehensive and richly illustrated medical or natural history publication of the 15th century, the Hortus sanitatis.

Systême des animaux... and Campi Phlegraei...

26 March 2001

Interleaved throughout with blank leaves, 19 of which bear the author’s annotations, this is Jean Baptiste Lamarck’s own copy of his landmark work on the evolution of species, an 1801 first of Systême des animaux sans vertèbres, ou tableau général des classes, des ordres et des genre de ces animaux in a contemporary binding.

Before we get to New Zealand

26 March 2001

The principal focus of the Christie’s Los Angeles sale of February 22 was a collection of Pacific voyages, with particular emphasis on New Zealand, and I shall return to that sale next week (see issue no. 1483) – but there were a few other things as well.

First we had Craven A, now comes Craven B…

26 March 2001

UK: West Country auctioneers Bearne’s of Exeter made headline news last May when they sold a collection of vintage 1850s photographs from William, 2nd Earl of Craven for £1.4m.

Shelley and Atwell are the top team

26 March 2001

UK: A HOUSEHOLD name in the 1930s-40s, Mabel Lucie Atwell (1879-1964) is today a very collectable name as was shown when this Shelley three-piece tea service, right, was offered at Potteries Specialist Auctions (buyer’s premium 11.75 per cent) on February 24.

£650 gains entrance to exclusive gun club

26 March 2001

UK: BOXLOCK shotguns are the most common of British fowling firearms and those with bolt-actions are certainly not unusual, but this particular model, left, aroused great interest at Weller and Dufty’s (15 per cent premium) arms and armour auction in Birmingham on March 14.

Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding

26 March 2001

A 1690 first of Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, bound in contemporary English mottled calf gilt and formerly in Sir Isaac Newton’s library, that reached $190,000 (£131,035) was acquired by Freilich at the Haskell F. Norman sales of 1998, when the price was $200,000.

Tractado de las drogas, y medecinas de las Indias orientales...

26 March 2001

Tractado de las drogas, y medecinas de las Indias orientales..., published in Burgos in 1578 and here seen in a later 16th Spanish goatskin binding (dated 1593 in a lettered cartouche to the fore-edge) bearing the gilt stamped arms of the Marques de Moya, is nominally the work of Cristóbal de Acosta, a Portuguese soldier and physician, but in his woodcut-illustrated book on drugs and the medicinal plants of Asia he readily admits his debt to the work of García da Orta, a Lisbon physician.

Buffon’s a Tournai up for the books

26 March 2001

Four lots from a service once owned by the Duke of Orléans were among the more unusual offerings among the stash of 18th century Tournai porcelain presented by Beaussant-Lefèvre at Drouot on March 7.

Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine ...

26 March 2001

One of 194 full-page engraved plates from a 1588 first of Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine..., a study of the science and technology of machines in the Renaissance and one of the more famous illustrated books of the 16th century.

Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae...

26 March 2001

Pictured here is the title page of one of the more important publications in the history of science – Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae... of 1735, which laid the groundwork for the systematic classification of plants and animals.

Hevelius’ Selenographia...

26 March 2001

Sold at $75,000 (£51,725), at the Freilich sale which took place at Sotheby’s New York on January 10 and 11, was a superb copy of the first complete lunar atlas, Hevelius’ Selenographia... of 1647.

Histoire naturelle ... Règne Minéral

26 March 2001

One of eight colour printed and hand-finished plates from the only known copy of a work that Fabien Gautier D’Agoty issued in 1777, apparently as a prospectus for his Histoire naturelle ... Règne Minéral.

‘Lost’ Michelangelo – appeal fund launched with £1/2m gift

19 March 2001

UK: A ‘LOST’ drawing by Michelangelo could be saved for the nation if a £7.5m appeal, launched this week, succeeds.

Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle

19 March 2001

US: BOUND in late 17th century French red morocco gilt, this is the five-volume Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle, the 1497-98 first edition in Greek and, in the amount of research and editing that went into its creation, let alone the fine typography, the greatest printing project of the 15th century.

Celtic coins and aureus

19 March 2001

In a recent issue some attempt was made to get away from only reporting past auction sales by noting coins from trade fixed price lists. To develop this theme further we return to auction sales but with a difference, this time to preview a few lots from Spink’s sale of April 11 in London.

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