Chinese coral and ivory carvings in lifetime collection sale

One of the finest collections of 18th and 19th Century Chinese coral and ivory carvings will be auctioned on May 4-6, 2012.

James Pihos Coral
Coral carving from The Pihos Collection

The carvings will feature among the lifetime collection of James W. Pihos in Florida. He was one of the original investors in McDonalds restaurants and the largest owner of stores in the Midwest. He passed away at his Ft. Lauderdale estate in May 2011.

"Mr. Pihos had huge Lalique doorhandles leading into the magnificent master bedroom of his estate home, and that may offer a little insight into the world of a man who lived life large and only bought the very best," said the auction house's Lloyd Matheson. "His red and white figural coral pieces - there are 33 in the sale - and his ivory carvings are just outstanding."

Highlights from his collection include a huge angel skin and melon colour coral group dating from the late 17th century. 

This unusual piece was carved from a single coral branch and shows an emperor on a throne surrounded by his subjects. Noted for its unique size and colour, the piece is expected to be the top-lot of the auction with an estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

The first day of the sale will see the Pihos' collection, while the rest will feature a varied range of items from jewelry to furniture.

A colossal oil-on-canvas from Charles R. Knight is sure to turn heads at the auction. Knight was noted for his dinosaur and animal paintings, with this bold and colourful piece depicting a reclining tiger. The piece has a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

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