Wartski’s managing director Geoffrey Munn has been promoted to the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) by the queen in the 2018 New Year’s Honours.

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Munn honoured as Wartski moves

Jewellery dealer Wartski is swapping Mayfair for St James’s and will move south to 60 St James’s Street in London by the summer.

Wartski, founded by Morris Wartski in Bangor, north Wales, in 1865, has been in Grafton Street in Mayfair since 1974. The firm first opened in London in 1911.

Meanwhile, Wartski’s managing director Geoffrey Munn, who was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to charity, was promoted to the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) by the queen in the 2018 New Year’s Honours through the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood.

Bonhams appoints new jewellery head

Bonhams has announced that Jean Ghika has become its new global head of jewellery.

As part of her new role, she will oversee sales in Bonhams’ global offices in London, New York, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Ghika has had 25 years of experience working at Bonhams. She was appointed director of jewellery for UK and Europe in 2007.

Matthew Girling, global CEO and former global director of jewellery at Bonhams, said: “I have worked with Jean for more than 21 years and I am delighted to hand over this global role to her. She has demonstrated excellent business acumen in her current role and has been instrumental in giving strategic direction to the UK and European fine jewellery.”

Bonhams says Girling will remain closely involved with the jewellery department and will assume a ‘chairman emeritus’ role for fine jewellery. He will also continue to take key jewellery auctions in London, New York and Hong Kong.

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2 America’s first china teapot unearthed for £15

3 Dealers sell rare portrait of bearded woman to Wellcome Collection

4 Stamp and coin dealership Stanley Gibbons Group considers further sell-offs

5 House record at Leicestershire auctioneer as Chinese vase sells

Stanley Gibbons considers sell-offs

Stamp and coin dealership Stanley Gibbons Group is considering further sell-offs as it seeks £5m to prosper.

The troubled firm reported losses in the half year to the end of September reduced to £3.1m, from £6.4m in the previous year, but sales fell 4% to £16.6m.

Chairman Harry Wilson, who joined in May 2016, has been trying to restructure the business and has sold off a number of subsidiaries, including auction firm Dreweatts and its stake in the Masterpiece London fair, to pay down debts. It raised £6m from the sale of ‘non-core businesses and assets’ and its total bank debt is currently £16.8m.

However, the company, which runs stamp business Stanley Gibbons, coin and medal dealer Baldwin’s and auction joint venture, Baldwin’s of St James’s, is in talks with its lenders over its refinancing plans.

Wilson believes the company must refinance its existing debt facility before it expires in May 2018 and requires £5m to continue its restructuring plan.

He described 2017 as “another difficult year” and said the board of the company is considering raising further equity or making asset sales.

The shares fell 30% on December 29 when the results were announced.

German toy ship floats buyer’s boat

A particularly well-detailed Märklin battleship led the recent specialist toy sale held by Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey, selling for $160,000 (£123,075), or $192,000 including premium.


Sankt Jorg Märklin tinplate toy sold for $160,000 (£123,075) at Bertoia Auctions.

The large, 2ft 4in (71cm) multi-deck vessel, the Sankt Georg, features a wealth of accessories and was in generally pristine condition.

It was consigned by a Californian collector and generated competition from several European, including British, bidders but was sold at the November 11-12 sale to an American buyer.

Michael Bertoia from the auction house said the boat dated from 1919-21. It is believed it to be the only known example in existence.

Guardi Venice view under export block

A vedute by Francesco Guardi (1712-93) that sold at Christie’s in London this summer has been blocked from export.


'The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi' by Francesco Guardi was sold at Christie’s in July but has now been temporarily blocked from export. Image: DCMS.

Arts minister John Glen placed a temporary export bar on Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, giving UK buyers the opportunity to match the £26.8m price.

The 3ft 11in x 6ft 9in (1.2 x 2.04m) oil on canvas came to auction with impeccable provenance from the Guinness family. It led Christie’s Old Master evening sale on July 6 after it was knocked down to a phone bidder at £23.25m.

Aidan Weston-Lewis, chief curator at the National Galleries of Scotland and member of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, said: “Commissioned by a British visitor to Venice in the late 1760s, it has remained in the UK ever since and has frequently been on public display. Its departure from these shores would be a regrettable loss.”

The total purchase price includes the buyer’s premium and VAT.

In Numbers


The value assigned in a customs form for the earrings and a brooch that were later stolen from the Doge’s Palace in Venice on January 3 from the Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajahs exhibition. It is believed the true value of the missing jewels, lent by a member of Qatar’s royal family, is a “few million euros”.