Augsburg cabinet of curiosities draws bids of $751,500

A rare cabinet of curiosities from Augsburg, Germany has sold at Bonhams, shedding light on the creation of a small group of cabinets from the Bavarian town.

The cabinet, rediscovered in 2006, has furthered knowledge of the small group of kunstkammer from Augsburg

Selling on December 5 in London, the cabinet made £482,500 ($751,363).

Produced in 1660, it is marked in pencil "Elias Boscher gemacht", and bears the hallmark of Augsburg silversmith Johann Spitzmacher on the gilt mounts.

It is one of very few pieces from the town to bear such artistic attribution, and has greatly furthered scholars' knowledge as a result.

Also known as kunstkammer, cabinets of curiosities were a display of wealth and social standing, and would have been filled with exotic treasures reflecting the owner's tastes. This example is produced in ebony and silver, with pietre-dura panels produced in the renowned grand ducal workshops in Florence.

"The impact of the vibrantly colourful pietre-dure panels depicting birds and flowers inset in the ebony carcass, and mounted with rich silver-gilt mounts, is truly mesmerising," commented Bonhams' Francois Le Brun, director of European furniture.

"A rare opportunity, this beautiful survival from the grand ducal workshops will attract international interest and draw collectors, institutions and dealers from around the world to Bonhams London."

It has over 40 compartments, many of which are still being discovered. The previous owner recently discovered a new drawer while exploring the piece with his grandchildren.

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