Best Bids Bulletin

Take a look at Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Mailyn becoming the most expensive artwork, Royal Mughal pashmina carpet selling for a princely sum, 1898 Peugeot Type 15 topping the bill at car auction and an Ancient God’s herm selling for twice its estimate.


Simply Divine

Ancient relic sells for twice its estimate

In a true celebration of ancient relics and artworks, Christie’s recently had up for auction a private collection of New York Antiquarium, The Devoted Classicist, which featured more than 40 lots of ancient art from the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Egyptian eras. Among the various distinctive pieces up for grabs were Athenian vases, Egyptian portrait heads and Roman marble statues of gods, goddesses and Imperial individuals, with one of the most notable sculptures featuring three depictions of the Greco-Roman God Dionysus.

The 8.5-inch marble masterpiece fetched an astonishing US$151,200 (HK$1.8 million) surpassing its estimated value of between US$70,000-US$90,000. Known as the God of fruitfulness, vegetation, wine and ecstasy, the Dionysus pieces date back to the second century AD.

Its Archaic portrayal shows a God with a layered spadeshaped beard, angled moustache and two rows of tight culrs falling on each shoulder, while the classical side has a pointed beard, full moustache and vertical locks on forehead. The late-classical style has a long moustache and long tendrils over the shoulders.


Centre Sage

Warhol’s work takes top billing at New York sale

The Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by pop art icon Andy Warhol became the most valuable of all his paintings, after being sold at a Christie’s auction in New York for US$195 million (HK$1.5 billion). It also became the most expensive artwork of the 20th century breaking the record previously held by Picasso’s 1955 artwork Less Femmes D’agler, which sold for US$179.4 Million in 2015. For its part, Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn dates back to 1964 and forms part of a series of five paintings made on a 40 square-inch acrylic and silkscreen on linen.

Tellingly, it was estimated to sell for around US$ 200 million, setting a record for the highest pre-auction estimate of any artwork ever, The sale of this piece was the undoubted highlight of the auction, which saw 36 other works contributing to total takings of US$318 million. The item was from the collection of two late Swiss gallerists, Thomas and Doris Ammann, the cofounders of Thomas Ammann Fine Art in Zurich. All proceeds from the sales will fund the foundation’s work of investing in global healthcare initiatives for underprivileged children and young adults.


Mat Effect

The Royal rug goes for a princely sum

An extraordinarily rare Royal Mughal pashmina carpet, woven for the court of the Indian Emperor Shah Jahan, circa 1650, sold at Christie’s for a hefty £5,442,000 (HK$ 48.6 million), going for more than twice the pre-sale estimate. Competitive telephone bidding for the Mughal Carpet lasted more than 10 minutes – a long time in auction terms. The carpet itself is square in shape, with each side measuring 275 cm and features geometrical traditional floral patterns.

It is one of only four 17th-century pashmina carpets remaining in private hands known for its brilliant colours and intricate pattern with a Lattice and Flower design. Due to the fragility of the silk and the finely spun pashmina pile, very few examples survive, making a carpet of this size and condition an extraordinarily rare memento of the golden age of Imperial Mughal carpet production. The carpet was the undoubted highlight of the Art of the Islamic & Indian World (including Oriental Rugs and Carpet) sale, which raised a total of £15,989,352 (HK$142.8 million). The auction comprised 265 lots, including works of art, paintings, carpets and manuscripts from the ninth through to the 20th century.


Vintage Voyage

Classic car drives high bids

A Victorian-era 1898 Peugeot Type 15 topped the bill at the recent Bonhams London Golden Age of Motoring 2022 classic car auction, which took place just before the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Selling for a staggering £494,500 (HK$ 4.4 million), it went way over its pre-sale estimate of £275000 -£325000. Peugeot is one of the most well-known French motoring marques and the only long-established firm to still be manufacturing two-cylinder engine cars, with its current portfolio of models ranging from 8hp to 5hp.

This fully-restored Peugeot offers four-speed plus reverse transmission and an early form of cruise control, advanced features for its day.

This car’s early history suggests that it was first purchased by someone in 1898 in the Mauriac region of France. It also appears that this car received special attention as evidenced by the larger than usual number of nickel-plated parts in addition to Peugeot’s liberal stamping of the car number on the chassis, body, and various other components. These were discovered during restoration, confirming the car’s unusually high degree of originality.