Louis XVI Japanese lacquer commode from Safra collection makes $6.9m

Sotheby's four-day auction of the collections of Lily and Edmond J Safra concluded today with a total of $49m, beating its $40m estimate. This was the second round of sales from the Safras' homes in the US, Switzerland and France. The first took place in 2005 and totalled $48.9m.

A full 800 lots of European furniture and art, Russian art, silver, paintings and books were led by a group of French 18th century lacquer furniture

The top lot was a Louis XVI-era ormolu-mounted Japanese lacquer commode with secretaire that fetched $6.9m nearly breaking through its top estimate of $7m. Whilst an ebonized ormolu-mounted Japanese commode from the reign of Louis XV sold on target at $3.4m.

Safra Japanese lacquer commode
The Safra Japanese lacquer commode

A 17th century South German ivory cup 'runneth over' its top estimate of $150,000 to reach $614,500 whilst a pair of Victorian gilt-bronze tables by Holland & Sons, which belonged to Prince of Wales Albert Edward, the future King Edward VI, sold for $1.1m, seven times above the low estimate of $150,000.

A group of 12 neoclassical bronze busts, including Roman emperors Julius Caesar, Augustus andCaligula, , brought $398,500, almost five times the top estimate of $80,000.

Buyers also competed for colourful 18th century bird figures made of porcelain. Magpies and cockatoos flew past their estimates.

A pair of golden orioles fetched $314,500, more than three times its top estimate of $100,000. A duo of green parakeets went for $386,500 against the presale estimate of $120,000 to $180,000.

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