Shibata Zeshin inro breaks world record by 13.5%
An inro by Japanese master Shibata Zeshin has broken the existing world record by 13.5%
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 16 May 2012
The final part of Bonhams' Edward Wrangham auction saw a Japanese inro by Shibata Zeshin sell for 13.5% above the previous world record.
The May 15 sale featured one of the greatest collections of Japanese works of art ever to come to auction, formed by environmentalist and mountaineer, Edward Wrangham OBE.
The Shibata Zeshin inro led the sale, selling for £301,250 against an estimate of £20,000-30,000. Accelerated by energised bidding on the auction floor, the understated piece achieved an impressive increase of 904.1%.
The previous world record for an inro at auction was also set at Bonhams, with a 19th century example selling for £265,250 in November 2011.
Inro, a type of case used to hold small objects, have proved themselves as popular collector's items in recent years. The Bonhams sale was dominated by the intricate cases, which comprised the top four lots in the auction.
This auction will be followed by another Bonhams sale of Fine Japanese Art on May 17. The inro in yesterday's auction may not hold the record for long, with another Zeshin inro estimated at £65,000-75,000.
There has never been a better time to invest in the Japanese art market, which is set to enjoy a resurgence after a disastrous year for Japan's economy in 2011. Investors will soon see results from items bought during this temporary slump, which are currently selling at a fraction of the price of comparable Western works.
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