Auction offers a Faberge letter opener for those who like the finer things of life

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 24th October, 2018

It might sound extremely indulgent to the average auction goer, but perhaps some among those who attend these events harbour a secret desire to open their mail with a silver Faberge letter opener.

If so, it will be worth attending Philips Auctions forthcoming Fine & Decorative Arts sale – from noon Sunday October 28 at 47 Glenferrie Road, Malvern – where such an item is being offered for a modest estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

The Russian .875 silver and rock crystal letter opener (lot 21) was made in 1894 in Moscow and bears the K. Faberge mark in Cyrillic.

It is shaped like a dagger with a finely cast horse’s head in profile above a reeded collar with gold horseshoe embellishments to both sides.  

Clock collectors will not miss out, either, with several unusual timepieces from which to choose.

The most valuable of these is an early 19th century fine Empire style annular bronze clock with serpents (lot 38, catalogue estimate $25,000-$40,000), while from the same era is a gilt bronze cartel clock (lot 39) in the Louis XVI style bearing the mark of Gerbe D’or H Chapus Fils, Rue de Rivoli, Paris.

Another unusual timepiece is a 19th century French Renaissance revival bronze clock garniture (lot 41) with the maker’s cartouche of Raingo Freres Paris.

Among the porcelain on offer are several Chinese blue and white early 17th century (late Ming Dynasty) items from the Bin Thuan shipwreck off Vietnam in 1644, including a basin bowl (lot 76).  

From the same period is an antique pierced and carved jade three-part censer (lot 95), while Chinese paintings feature such artists as Yao Zhihua (born 1932) with his watercolour work Red trees (lot 93).

Other attractions include a late 20th century fine articulated sterling silver elephant (lot 212) and a fine continental gold mounted pictorial enamel snuff box (lot 17).

Among the furniture highlights is a circa 1900 signed Louis Marjorelle palisander display armoire.

Louis Marjorelle (1859-1926) was an outstanding art nouveau style French decorator and furniture designer who manufactured his own designs in the French tradition of the ebeniste.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Louis took over the family business once the senior Marjorelle died in 1879 and continued to run the enterprise until it was destroyed by fire on November 20, 1916.

Philips jewellery auction will be held from 6pm the following day.  

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