Achieving a total of €1.1 million, our Importante Orfèvrerie Européenne, Boîtes en Or et Objets de Vitrine auction attracted connoisseurs of fine objects. Among the top lots was a silver statue of a rooster, designed by André Falize and representing one of Jean de La Fontaine’s fables The Cock and the Pearl, which was auctioned for € 123,000. A spectacular silver cup set with turquoises, amethysts and pearls, signed Froment-Meurice sold for €71,250, while an elegant set of silver dishes by Barthélémy Samson found a buyer for €53,750. A lively bidding battle for a golden musical box decorated with turquoises and pearls culminated in a final result of €50,000, surpassing the lot’s high estimate of €5,000. Finally, a rare silver tobacco grate sold for € 40,000, against its pre-sale estimate of €10,000 – 15,000.
The spring sale of Importante Orfèvrerie, Boîtes en Or et Objets de Vitrine on 6 May contains a wealth of treasures. The sale features European and American items dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including a number of elegant silver pieces, some engraved with the arms of illustrious families, together with everyday objects that bear witness to forgotten customs. This is a chance to acquire unique works fashioned by masters whose work is rarely seen on the market, such as André Falize, François-Thomas Germain and François-Désiré Froment-Meurice. Each piece is a genuine journey through time, paying tribute to virtuosic skills.
Collectors are sure to be tempted by a dessert service in gold by Puiforcat made in Paris circa 1970, as well as a set of four ragout dishes and two round dishes in silver by Barthélémy Samson with engraved inner borders and arms stamped with a count's coronet. A further highlight is an impressive silver and vermeil cup signed by Froment-Meurice and produced by Jules Wièse, notable for its luxuriant neo-Gothic style. The auction also includes a vertical "match box" in enamelled silver by François-Désiré Froment-Meurice, similar to one bought by Queen Victoria from the Froment-Meurice stand at the London Exhibition, which she gave to her husband, Prince Albert, in 1848.
"Pièces de forme" made by François-Thomas Germain, who together with his father Thomas was the most illustrious silversmith of the 18th century, rarely come onto the market. Sotheby's has the honour of presenting one of them: a teapot that has remained in the same Portuguese family since the 18th century. The only known models from the Germain workshop, delivered to the Portuguese court in 1757, are those now in a museum in Lisbon.
The sale also sports a splendid bestiary. A large solid silver black rhinoceros by Bry (Paris, circa 1950), whose magnificent proportions extend over 32.5 cm, is joined by a majestic cockerel, which has remained in the same family since before 1940. Inspired by one of La Fontaine's Fables, Le Coq et la Perle, this is the work of the celebrated master jeweller André Falize (Paris, circa 1900), whose pieces are highly sought-after in the market.