Sotheby’s Auction Property from the Collections of Lily & Edmond J. Safra for $45.9 Million

Sotheby’s New York four-day auction of Property from the Collections of Lily & Edmond J. Safra concluded on Friday with a total of $45,900,064 (est. in excess of $40 million). The Collections offered more than 800 lots of magnificent European furniture and works of art, Russian works of art, silver, paintings and bookbindings, and were led by an extraordinary group of French 18th-century lacquer furniture that arguably is the most important to appear at auction since the iconic 1882 sale of the Collection of the 12th Duke of Hamilton from Hamilton Palace in Scotland. Together the group achieved $12.5 million, led by a Louis XVI Ormolu-Mounted Japanese Lacquer Commode with secretaire en suite, attributed to Adam Weisweiler, which sold for $6,914,500 (est. $5/7 million).


Louis XV lacquer Commode attributed to B.V.R.B. Est. $3/5 million. Photo: Sotheby’s

“The results of this remarkable auction are an affirmation of the taste, passion and connoisseurship of both Lily and Edmond J. Safra,” said Robin Woodhead, Chairman of Sotheby’s International. “The diverse works that were offered represent the peak of their collecting categories, inspiring interest from collectors worldwide.”

Additional highlights from the group of magnificent lacquer furniture included: a Louis XV lacquer Commode attributed to B.V.R.B., possibly the greatest of all French furniture makers of the Louis XV period, which achieved $3,442,500 (est. $3/5 million); a Louis XV Bureau Plat attributed to Jacques Dubois, which sold for $842,500 (est. $700,000/1 million); and a Louis XVI Commode by Martin Carlin that brought $782,500 (est. $600/800,000).

Several works from the four-day sale were highly-sought after by collectors and far exceeded their pre-sale estimates. A Rare Pair of Louis XV Carved Porphyry Lidded Vases, circa 1760, more than doubled their high estimate to bring $1,426,500 (est. $400/600,000). A South German Turned Ivory Cup and Cover, probably Nuremberg, first half of the 17th century, quadrupled its high estimate in selling for $614,500 (est. $120/150,000). And from the 19th century, an Important Pair of Royal Victorian Center Tables by Holland & Sons, circa 1870, far exceeded their high estimate of $200,000 by achieving $1,052,500.

Other highlights across the diverse range of collecting categories on offer included The Burghley Epergne, a masterpiece of English Rococo silver created for the distinguished collector and patron Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter, which brought $950,500 (est. $800,000/1.2 million), as well as a work of 20th Century Design: an Important French Moderne Console Table by Paul Dupré Lafon, circa 1930, sold for $602,500 (est. $500/700,000).

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