Stuart Cary Welch Collection of Islamic and Indian Art Auctions for $48 Million at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s London auctions of the extraordinary Stuart Cary Welch collection concluded realising an outstanding combined total o £29,313,565 ($48,082,309) well above pre-sale expectations and achieving a combined sell-through rate of 96.2% by lot. The second Part, Arts of India, yesterday afternoon realised the 7-times estimate total of £8,403,815 ($13,894,868) (pre-sale estimate £1.2-1.8 million) and established sell-through rates of 98% by lot and 99.6% by value.

Yesterday’s sale followed the success of last month’s auction of the Stuart Cary Welch Collection Part I Sale: Arts of the Islamic World, which brought a remarkable total of £20,909,750 ($34,187,441) – almost six times the pre-sale estimate (est. £3.5-5.3 million) – which established a record for a single auction of Islamic Art ever staged and set a record for an Islamic work of art at auction with the £7.4 million ($12.1 million) sale of the a leaf from the Shahnameh of the Shah Tahmasp of Persia. The auction established sell through rates of 93.9% by lot and 99.9% by value. Of the lots sold, a notable 87% sold for sums in excess of their presale high estimates.

Highlights of Part I (April 6, 2011):
• An illustrated folio from the Shahnameh made for Shah Tahmasp of Persia, universally acknowledged as one of the supreme illustrated manuscripts of any period or culture and among the greatest works of art in the world, which sold for the outstanding and well above estimate sum of £7,433,250 ($12,153,364). This exceptional illustrated leaf saw competition for almost 10 minutes from no fewer than seven bidders, both in the saleroom and on the telephones, and finally sold for nearly four times pre-sale expectations to an anonymous bidder on the telephone (pre-sale estimate: £2-3 million).

• Another important highlight was Five Holy Men, attributed to Govardhan, from Mughal India, circa 1625-30, one of the most brilliant, arresting and memorable of Mughal miniatures. The folio was acquired by a telephone bidder for the 13-times estimate sum of £2,600,000 (est. £200,000-300,000).

Highlights of Part II (May 31, 2011):
• The top selling lot was Sri Bhairavi Devi With Shiva, Attributable To Payag, Mughal, circa 1630-35, which sold to an institution for the remarkable sum of £1,385,250 ($2,290,372), 70-times the pre-sale estimate.

• Establishing a world auction record for a Nepalese painting, Vasudhara Mandala by Jasaraja Jirila, Nepal, painted in 1365, the earliest recorded Nepalese paubha that contains a date within its dedicatory inscription sold this afternoon for the extraordinary sum of £825,250 ($1,364,468), almost three times the pre-sale estimate (Estimated at £300,000-400,000).

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