Gold ingots and clocks set the pace at Melbourne decorative arts auction

Gold ingots and clocks were the order of the day at Melbourne-based Leski Auctions February decorative arts sale with examples of each bringing the top result of $20,000.

This price was paid for four 24-carat gold ingots (lot 216a) and a circa 1775 London-based Henry Kemp clock with a fine scarlet lacquered bell top and spring table (lot 586).

While the ingots were right on catalogue estimate, the clock easily beat its $12,000-$15,000 figure.

A vintage Patek Philippe 18-carat gold gent’s manual wristwatch with the clasp stamped “Patek Philippe, Geneve, 750” (lot 360) was the best of the watches, the buyer paying $13,000 against a catalogue estimate of $6000-$8000.

Dutch painter Johannes Hermanus Barend Koekkoek (1840-1912) depiction of boats in rough seas (lot 761) also eclipsed its catalogue estimate with an $8000 result, $2000 more than its high estimate, while his brother Marinus Adrianus (1807-1868) achieved the same figure for his wagon and figures in a river landscape (lot 760).

Both were members of the famous Koekkoek painting family and sons of the marine artist Johannes Hermanus.

While Johannes continued his father’s legacy of maritime paintings with a lifelong passion for water and human interaction, Marinus concentrated initially on landscapes before expanding to animals, portraits and maritime scenes.

An antique early 19th century Qing Dynasty Chinese porcelain Buddha statue attracted plenty of interest before being knocked down for $6500 – twice its $2500-$3500 catalogue estimate – while a stunning early 19th century 18-carat gold French snuff box (lot 367) was a $6000 acquisition.

Other top 10 results included a Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577) pottery figure warhorse (lot 390) at $5500 and a nine-carat gold cigarette case (lot 374).

Founded by Gao Yang (Emperor Wenxuan), the dynasty ruled the eastern part of northern China and was eventually conquered by the Xianbei-led Northern Zhou dynasty in 577.

The commemorative (with logo) White Star Line cup and saucer (lot 1372) brought a pleasing $750 on its $200-$300 estimate.

The White Star line owned the ill-fated passenger liner Titanic, sunk in 1912 on its maiden voyage when it ran full speed into a North Atlantic iceberg. The Melbourne Museum is currently hosting a unique exhibition of 200 real artefacts removed directly from the wreck site.


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