Following a hugely successful first open house in May 2011, Bonhams will once again open the doors of its Knightsbridge saleroom to offer free verbal valuations on Wednesday 4th January 2012. 9:30am to 4pm.
Famille rose Tibetan-style ewer, penba Jiaqing seal mark and of the period. Photo: Bonhams.
20 of Bonhams art and antiques specialists will be available, including two who regularly appear on popular BBC antique programmes, Fergus Gambon and Jon Baddeley. In addition to valuing traditional antique and modern silver, ceramics, jewellery, books, works of art, prints and paintings, there will also be experts in the specialist fields of entertainment and sporting memorabilia, coins and medals, arms, armour and sporting guns, toys and dolls, musical instruments, jewellery, clocks and watches, vintage costumes.
In May, the team of specialists discovered a rare famille rose Tibetan-style ewer, which went on to fetch £121,250 in the Fine Chinese Art sale at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 10 November. This highly fashionable object, which came into being as a result of some Qing Emperors taking an interest in the mysticism of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, was brought to the Open House by a lady who had inherited it from her grandfather. Under his ownership, it had been converted into a lamp stand and featured a hole through the base to accommodate the electric flex. Although the price realised was excellent, had the transition from vase to lamp not taken place, it would have been several times higher.
In addition, a rare blue diamond, which was valued at the May Open House, sold for £103,250 at the Fine Jewellery Sale at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 21 September. Again, the lady owner had inherited the diamond from a relative. She had insured it for £2,000, not realising how much it was in fact worth.
Bonhams Knightsbridge is the busiest auction house in Britain, holding 112 sales a year. In the past seemingly inconspicuous items have gone on to fetch remarkable prices at auction, most memorably the dress worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, which made an astounding £140,000 (over four times its pre-sale estimate), a 16th century helmet, which sold for £14,400 and a Fred Yates painting, which fetched £13,800, having been estimated at £3,000-5,000.
Jon Baddeley, Managing Director of Bonhams Knightsbridge says: “We were delighted by the success of our first open house in May last year where we valued and subsequently sold over £500,000 worth of items and I am confident that this one on January 4th will be as fruitful.”