Fine Chinese snuff bottles estimated at $15,000 apiece

Two fine Chinese snuff bottles, each carrying a $10,000-15,000 estimate, are to go under the hammer on January 16 as part of an American-based Asian art auction.

A white jade double gourd specimen joins a white jade melon form example as the anticipated joint top lots. Both are believed to date from the 18th century.

Fine Chinese snuff bottles estimated at $15,000 apiece
The translucent, white jade double gourd snuff bottle features beautiful leaf and vine carvings

Graydon Sikes, director of Asian art at the auction house presiding over the sale, commented: "Most of the works in the sale come from collections that were put together many years ago, and have not been offered on the market for a long time."

The 490 lot sale is set to feature a wide selection of decorative Asian pieces, including items made from ivory and porcelain, as well as hanging scrolls, knives and elaborate carvings.

Asian art collectibles have previously put in strong performances at auction, with a rare, gilt bronze parrot jar bringing $200,000 in New York in December of last year.

gilt bronze parrot jar
This rare, gilt bronze parrot jar brought $200,000 in New York in December 2012

China now has the world's third highest number of millionaires at 1.4m, having added 193,000 in the space of a year, according to Boston Consulting Group's 2012 global wealth report. Duly, the sale of Asian collectibles has seen an increase: both first and second place in the top 10 postage stamp sales of 2012 are held by the Chinese stamp The Whole Country is Red.  

The results of a recent Barclay's Wealth report go some way towards explaining these developments: concluding that Chinese interest in owning collectibles, whether for portfolio diversification or as status symbols, is larger than that in the West; the report asserts that 17% of China's wealthiest individuals have their money placed in treasure assets compared to just 9% in the US and 7% in the UK.

For more information on the investment potential of this sector, visit our free guide to investing in art and photography, and, if you haven't already, sign up for our weekly newsletter for auction insights straight to your inbox.  

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