Last night (23 November 2010), Bonhams Hong Kong celebrated its second "Golden Gavel Auction", when Part II of the world's finest collection of important Chinese snuff bottles, the Mary and George Bloch Collection, sold 100% and achieved world record prices.
Against pre-sale estimates of HK$24,000,000 (US$3,090,000), the sale total was HK$54,832,000 (£4, 437,930 or $7,060,000) with every one of the 155 rare bottles successfully sold. A good number of the lots sold for twice to four times its estimate.
A new world record for a porcelain snuff bottle was reached when Lot 121 sold for a staggering HK$8,384,000 (£678,815 or US$1,080,710), four times its pre-sale estimate of HK$2,000,000 ($258,000).
Commissioned by the Qianlong emperor and enamelled in the palace workshops of the Imperial Palace between 1736 and 1760, this extraordinary snuff bottle, decorated with 'double-gourds', symbolic of long life, is identical to another rare example still preserved in the Forbidden City Palace Museum.
The highest price of the sale, and a new world record for a glass snuff bottle was achieved by Lot 152, a 'famille-rose' enamelled gold-ground glass 'lotus' snuff bottle, which sold for HK$9,056,000 (£732,921), almost four times its pre-sale estimate of HK$2,500,000.
This exquisite snuff bottle was commissioned by the Qianlong emperor (1736-95), and decorated with lotus flowers against a rich golden ground, and incised on the base with the Imperial mark.
Bonhams' Head of Chinese Ceramic and Works of Art in Hong Kong Julian King who prepared the auction, said: "We are delighted that these extraordinary snuff bottles are returning to Beijing, where they were originally commissioned by the Qianlong emperor.
"The same real-estate tycoon who broke the world record when he paid HK$9,280,000 for a snuff bottle on his first day of collecting them at the Part I of the sale held on 29 May made a triumphant return to Bonhams auctions today."
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