Chinese Qianlong antique mammoth tusk looms large in Florida auction

As we've reported, a Boynton Beach, Florida auction house will be presenting a sale later this month (February 25) at which many of the key items are great Russian collectibles.

These include an Imperial Russian enameled silver and agate boar's head cup which is certainly one of the most striking antiques we've come across, and an extremely rare Imperial Russian enameled silver plique a jour Judaica spice tower centrepiece.

These are expected to achieve $40,000-50,000 and $35,000-45,000 respectively. But as always it's difficult to ignore Chinese antiques given their enormous potential value. Actually, it would be difficult to ignore the leading Chinese antique in the sale even if you had no interest in collectibles at all….

Chinese Qianlong antique carved mammoth tusk
Chinese Qianlong antique carved mammoth tusk

This is a hand-carved ivory mammoth tusk exquisitely crafted to present a great warrior battle scene.

Estimated at $60,000-$80,000, it has been dated to the reign of the Emperor Qianlong. The scene presents 70 figures clashing in a relief-carved scene which depicts 13 cavalry warriors, spear men, swordsmen and men carrying mask shields.

An impressive 45in tall, it also shows figures paying their dues to The Immortals and offering them gifts.

Chinese Qianlong antique carved mammoth tusk detail
A detail from the antique carved mammoth tusk

In total there are 81 carved figures (including Immortals) as well as many animals (dragons, elephants and deer).

Unlike the trade in elephant ivory (and rhino horn) collectibles, the buying and selling of mammoth ivory tusks faces few legal issues worldwide. Sadly it's too late to save the mammoth from extinction.

The record for a price paid for mammoth remains - not an antique but a skeleton - was set in Germany in September 2009 at just over €300,000.

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