Nellie Melba travelling clock brings strong bidding

After an inconspicuous start to Philips Auctions October sale, there was standing room only for both decorative arts and jewellery auctions on Sunday October 26 and Monday October 27.

Two hundred and thirty seven bidders crowded into the auction room for decorative arts, which resulted in a 75 per cent by volume sale rate, while 100 attended the jewellery sale for a 70 per cent volume sale rate result.

Prices continued to be strong for many of the jewellery pieces – possibly because women now have more buying power than ever, the items are portable and take little room to store.

Even the Georg Jensen silver was keenly sought after with every piece selling for at least double or triple catalogue estimates.

A good example was a striking Vivienne Torun bulow-hube collier and pendant from 1967 (featured on the inside of the catalogue cover), which sold for $3186 including buyers premium against an estimate of $1500-$2000.

A gold Vacheron & Constantin travelling clock, also featured and once owned by famous opera diva Dame Nellie Melba and complete with her signature, changed hands for $6608.

Additional jewellery featured on the front cover was hotly contested – a stunning antique turquoise and diamond fringe necklace typical of the results with its $5664 sale price.

An impressive pair of emerald and diamond earrings fetched a healthy $8260, while a quality princess cut diamond ring brought $8850.

Other strong results included an emerald and diamond art deco bracelet, which sold for $17,110 and a diamond set necklace that changed hands for $4248.

Decorative arts were equally impressive – with a Penfolds Grange collection kick starting the auction and selling for between $472 and $566 a bottle.

Some items were keenly contested, like the early Victorian tortoiseshell tea caddy, which changed hands for $1416 (estimate $600-$700) and a fine Georgian silk on linen sampler ($826).

Once again Chinese items appear to have a strong following – good examples being a turquoise ornament that brought $1003, a 12th-13th century Jizhou ware bowl from the Southern Song dynasty ($1770) and an antique Qing dynasty 19th century ivory octopus ornament ($1180).

Georg Jensen sterling silver items also featured prominently in decorative arts with three bowls bringing respectively $$2596, $1180 and $3080, an ‘acorn’ cutlery service for eight $10,030, and a tazza $3540. 

Conventional sterling silver items also fared well with a mid to late 19th century large jardinière ($2360), a George III covered mustard pot $1652 and a two handled tea tray ($3540) leading the way.

Art was pleasing – a pair of Darren Gannon paintings selling for $4130 – and, after several months of steady disposal, the final items in Hawthorn interior decorator Geraldine Cooper’s furniture collection were sold, including coffee tables at up to $1000 each.

Other strong furniture results included a 19th century French oak desk ($3068), an early 1830s Georgian mahogany Sheraton-style drop side table ($1416) and a 19th century mahogany Wellington chest ($1534).


Sunday December 7 – Decorative Arts and Furniture

Monday December 8 – Jewellery


Some of the best sterling silver Melbourne buyers have seen in years will be a highlight of Philips Auctions forthcoming December sale.

A Christmas special will be the 1996 Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide convertible motorcycle.

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