Two-day Australian decorative arts auction one to remember

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 24th August, 2022

Melbourne-based Leski Auctions is rapidly building a massive reputation for memorable two-day Decorative Arts & Collectables sales and its forthcoming auction is no exception with the auction house talking about it as a series of smaller individual categories to make it easier for auction goers to digest.

All up there are 1604 lots with 790 being auctioned on the first day – from 10am Saturday September 10 – and the remainder from the same time the following day at 727-729 High Street, Armadale.

Saturday begins with an exciting selection of silver (lots 1-130) including several Faberge workshop examples such as an Imperial Russian antique silver and enamel cigarette case (lot 19) with a catalogue estimate of $15,000-$20,000.

A beautiful pair of Imperial Russian circa 1908 gilded silver and cloisonné enamel goblets (lot 25) by Maria Wasilewna Semenova (who was working in Moscow from about 1890) carries a $6000-$10,000 estimate. Another of her similar but larger creations sold in November 2021 at Christies London for £40,000 plus buyer’s premium.

Another Faberge workmaster August Frederik Hollming created the Imperial Russian silver-gilt, gold plated and enamelled magnifying glass listed at lot 29 for $12,000-$15,000. Born in Finland in 1854, Hollming settled in St Petersburg in 1876 and became a Faberge workmaster four years later.

Interesting is the pair of antique 19th century Chinese export bud vases with embossed floral decorations (lot 31) and the antique 18th/19th century Vietnamese Cham silver offering bowl (lot 33).

Other silver items of note include an antique 19th century Indian silver tea caddy (lot 41), an 18th/19th century Indian Kutch silver miniature howdah or elephant seat (lot 40) and an antique 19th/20th century Burmese silver betel box (lot 44).

The next category (lots 131-272) comprises a diverse range of antique and estate jewellery and watches – none more impressive than an antique 19th century colonial Australian yellow gold oval brooch (lot 135).

A 19th century yellow gold brooch set with diamonds featuring the enamel portrait of a lady (lot 142) is another impressive auction specimen.

A solid opal gold ring (lot 160) is not to be missed along with a solid boulder opal pendant (lot 198).

Chinese and other Asian art and artefacts are listed from lots 273 to 429 with items like a Tibetan Buddha (lot 275), a set of four early Ming Dynasty (14th/15th century) Chinese bronze dragon sedan chair handles (lot 280) and an antique carved marble Buddha head (lot 278) bound to appeal.

Antiquities (lots 430-459) and religious artefacts (lots 460-466) also are included in the auction – while English and European porcelain and ceramics can be found from lots 467 to 549.

Typical of the antiquities is a fine Byzantine bronze crucifix (lot 435) while  an 1876 Christ Pantokrator Russian silver icon by Russia’s Muromtsev comprises lot 466.

Collectable glass is another feature (lots 550-642) including an antique 18th/19th century German green glass roemer (lot 550) – with three circa 1960 examples of Alfredo Barbini’s aquarium glass blocks (lots 590, 594 and 595) a major highlight.

On day two, first off the blocks is Tony and Jenny Ballard’s clock collection, including a 20th century Black Forest German cuckoo wall clock (lot 879), followed by a range of stunning antique furniture (lots 1058-1207).

Of particular appeal is a George III mahogany servery (lot 1077) but other attractions include a Charles II oak four-drawer chest (lot 1059), a mahogany secretaire bookcase (lot 1092) and a French serpentine front commode (lot 1111).

Fine rugs (lots 1227-1237) are worth pursuing along with circa 1975 Scandinavian furniture, lighting and home accessories (lots 1238-1359).

There also is military history, books, posters and several fascinating documents including an invitation to dinner written by the first United States  President George Washington.

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