Vendors try their luck in two-day Melbourne online auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 22nd October, 2020

More than 100 vendors have agreed to let Leski Auctions have a crack at selling an eclectic and comprehensive range of items online in an “auction behind closed doors” scenario as Melbourne’s continuing coronavirus lockdown drags on into yet another month.

The online auction – complete with virtual viewing, telephone and absentee bidding provisions – is the latest in a long line of such remote sales necessitated by a stubborn COVID-19 pandemic that only now is being brought under some sort of control in Australia while raging like wildfire overseas.

From 10am on Saturday October 31 and Sunday November 1, Leski Auctions will broadcast to an empty room while bidders watch anxiously online for a chance to pick up the items they want.

While there are collections from Sydney, Queensland and South Australia, most of the vendors come from Victoria.

The auction has been divided into several sections including silver, porcelain and ceramics, glass, antiquities, furniture, clocks and timepieces, Chinese and Asian art, artworks, jewellery, tribal artefacts, taxidermy and tobacciana .

The Sydney collector has consigned his antiquities collection, while the silver selection is from South Australia.

Of particular note within this latter collection is lot 20, an Austro-Hungarian silver snuff box with a purple guilloche enamel and floral border, and lot 23, a Russian Mary and Jesus icon.

Another highlight is a circa 1863 antique English sterling silver warming tureen probably by Harrison & Howson of Sheffield (lot 51).  

Among the antiquities collection are 5000-year-old Sumer bronze axe heads from Southern Mesopotamia (lot 400), while typical of the Chinese and other Asian artefacts are a famille rose porcelain vase (lot 408) and a 19th/20th century Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze Mahakala and Yab-yum sculpture (lot 430).

Porcelain and ceramics include such treasures as a 19th century Sevres pair of French porcelain panels in gilt frames (lot 118), a 2003 Moorcroft exhibition pottery fruit bowl (lot 137) and Andy Warhol’s Rosenthal studio-linie “Campbell’s Soup” porcelain plaque (lot 171) – one of two of his plaques (with lot 172) in the auction.

Another strong attraction is the late 19th century Legras French art nouveau glass vase (lot 199), along with an Orrefors “Ariel” glass vase designed by Edvin Ohrstrom (lot 219) and the Barbini for Cenedese Murano aquarium glass vase with four fish (lot 225).

A mid-18th century oak and fruitwood Welsh dresser base (lot 578) is a furniture highlight, while the circa 1835 north Italian inlaid centre table (lot 585) is bound to set tongues wagging.

Likewise, the 19th century French Gueridon black marble, slate and white onyx circular games table with figural gilt bronze legs (lot 633) should generate plenty of interest and a circa 1895 French art nouveau boutique shop counter display cabinet (lot 688) has to be seen to be believed.

Two pieces by the legendary Carlo Bugatti (lots 708 and 709) – one an 1880-1895 ebonized wood  lectern and the other walnut cabinet with letter racks from the same period – will be instant hits with auction goers.

The auction also contains a comprehensive range of jewellery including a South Seas tear drop pearl pendant in 18-carat gold with eight diamonds on a foxtail chain (lot 834).

Other auction highlights include a 19th century English corkscrew with applied coat of arms, whalebone, bristle, brass and steel (lot 1062).

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