Garth’s to Begin Chinese New Year with Amazing Asian items & more

With Asian material encompassing more than half of the 762 lots offered in their late January auction, Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers is hoping to celebrate the Chinese New Year just a few weeks early with fireworks in the sale room.


Lot 7 CARVED IVORY SKULL. Japan, Edo/Takugawa (1600-1868). Finely carved skull with spirits. Signed “Gi Yu Ku Zen” on the roof of the mouth. 7.5″h. 5.5″l. Estimate $3000-5000 to be sold at Garth’s January 26, 2013

“The variety and quality in this auction is terrific,” comments Garth’s owner, Amelia Jeffers. “Just choosing a cover image for the printed catalog was tough. After considering jewelry, paintings, jade, snuffs and scrolls, we finally settled on a monumental ivory carving that came to us from a wonderful Cleveland, Ohio estate.” The 32” high carving of a Hindu deity is elaborately carved with twenty-two arms, each holding a unique attribute, and is conservatively estimated at $1,500 – $2,500. Another monumental ivory choice comes in the form of a chess set with Emperor, Empress, eight immortals, and other wonderfully carved pieces estimated to bring between $3,000 and $5,000. Complete with a fitted box that doubles as a board, the pieces range in height from 6” to 10” and carry an impressive 8,500 grams of ivory. A mainstay at most Asian auctions these days, the ivory Netsuke choices do not disappoint. Several dozen examples are highlighted by a figural group carving with a woman, monkey and peach; a detailed reclining rat; and a coiled snake. While the ivory selection in this auction is too extensive to detail here, one item of note has assumed a place in the Garth’s history books: a Japanese ivory carving in the form of a skull, with spirits mounted on the top and sides and signed “Gi Yu Ku Zen”, it measures 7.5” tall and is estimated at $3,000 – $5,000. “On one of our first cross-country trips together,” begins Jeffers, “Sarah [Zhu, Garth’s new Asian Arts Specialist] and I met in New York to visit clients and exchange some of the important pieces of jade and ivory for this auction. As if the packing and unpacking of carry-ons in our hotel room did not seem clandestine enough, I was stopped by a very confused TSA agent during the security check. Apparently, the ivory skull is a bit disarming when viewed through the lens of the x-ray screening process!” Jeffers says with a chuckle.

One timely option for the catalog cover could have been the wonderful red Peking glass carved overlay snuff bottle with the Chinese Zodiac (Est. $1,500 – $2,500). With more than 50 snuff bottles ranging from jade to agate, turquoise to lapis, painted to porcelain and forms too numerous to name, one of the more special examples is a beautifully mottled nephrite jade pebble snuff bottle with very nice skin and a coral stopper. From a private California collection, it is estimated at $5,500-$6,500. An 18th Century carved agate snuff bottle from the Suzhou school has bat and rock designs and four character marks (Est. $10,000 – $12,000).

Bidders looking for unusual, high-quality Asian objects will not be disappointed reviewing jade, coral, porcelain, paintings, cloisonne, shibayama and more. Asian consignments from both coasts came together at the Midwest’s leading fine art and antique auction house under the direction of owner and auctioneer, Amelia Jeffers and Garth’s newest specialist, Sarah Zhu. “Sarah has come to us after extensive experience with two California auction houses,” explains Jeffers. “Sarah has an impressive breadth of knowledge and a wonderful eye. It has been a pleasure to visit and review collections with her. We are looking forward to expanding our Asian department with some significant consignments in 2013 – the calendar is already filling up with client visits and we are enthusiastic to add more.”

Beyond the Asian continent, the auction includes fine art, jewelry and furniture and decorative accessories. A wonderful painting by Frank Tenney Johnson is sure to warm the hearts of his fans: “Cowboy and Campfire” is estimated at $10,000 – $20,000. “The Johnson, Sharp, Gray – and, really many of the best paintings in this auction – came to us from a very large and good collection in California,” explains Jeffers. “The collector has a terrific eye and has been buying for 30 years – and, we could not be happier to help him as he begins to cull his collection.” Jeffers refers to “A Day At the Beach,” by Dorothea Sharp (Est. $6,000 – $8,000) and an unusual and highly detailed ship in harbor scene by Jack Lorimer Gray (Est. $7,000 – $9,000).

Early Irish and English silver include choice selections from Matthew West, Thomas Lamborn and Charles Fox (among others). “The Omar Ramsden piece came into our walk-in appraisal day,” comments Jeffers about an impressive travelling communion set marked for the famed Sheffield-born silversmith (Est. $2,000 – $3,000). “It was a gift to the consignor and really a special example.” From precious metal to precious gems, the auction includes spectacular jewelry including a dazzling Piaget ladies’ watch with an incredible 18k white gold bracelet inset entirely with diamonds and holding a retail value in excess of $150,000 (Est. $35,000 – $45,000). An Ebel watch with diamond-encrusted dial and more than 6 carats of diamonds framing the cease is estimated at $8,000 – $10,000.

“Plenty of Continental furniture and decorative accessories round out the auction,” says Jeffers. “The variety is just too great to summarize in a short article. Can we have the next issue?” she says with a smile.

Garth’s schedule also includes an impressive Americana and folk art collection selling on January 12, 2013. For more information about either of the January auctions, or to request a free appraisal of your object(s), visit www.garths.com or call 740.362.4771.

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