A s the first full year of auctions since the relaunch of Sotheby’s Cologne office comes to a close, specialist Eva Donnerhack reflects on some of the team's achievements and proudest moments of the year.
'This year there has been tremendous excitement and success. In particular, the collaborations with a few wonderful private single-owner collections, such as the outstanding Collection of the Late Manfred Wandel, Stiftung für konkrete Kunst, Reutlingen and the beautiful Luminous Waves of Colour: Property from a Prominent Private Dutch Collection were both an exceptional pleasure to work on.
These consignments, as well as the many single consignors really connected with buyers and especially new participants in the market. This brought a very personal delight to our wonderful work in Cologne.'
'With the strong participation from German clients – over 32 percent across our 2022 sales - our appeal to local clients was evident. Furthermore, following the pandemic, in 2022, we all took a lot of pleasure in welcoming clients in person again, at our beautiful galleries at Palais Oppenheim, for pre-sale exhibitions, catching up again and enjoying conversations about the works - whilst being able to actually stand next to them!
'And this year, as ever, Sotheby’s global reach has been apparent throughout all our sales, with an average of 16,000 unique visitors to our online catalogues per sale. And overall, we welcomed bidders from 44 countries. This demonstrates that our sales in Cologne are being recognized worldwide, from the very first sale onwards. And it's been exciting to see that, on average, at least 29 percent of auction participants this year were new to Sotheby’s - and 21 percent of participants under 40, so we're also seeing the next generation of private collectors. Incidentally, a remarkable average of 83 percent of our bidders and buyers in the Cologne sales have been private collectors. These results also reflect the extraordinary support from our international colleagues: Sotheby’s as a global team serving our worldwide clients at its best - and we are looking forward to many new exciting moments in Cologne in the New Year!'
Philipp Demeter, Director & Head of Luxury sales (Germany) and Specialist in Watches & Jewels, selects his personal highlights of 2022
T his was an exciting year for me in many respects, as I only joined Sotheby's Germany in the last quarter of 2021. Since then, there have been many wonderful encounters and amazing experiences. In May, I had the great pleasure, as auctioneer, to open the day sales of Karl Lagerfeld's estate at Palais Oppenheim. Watching the enthusiasm of the clients from the rostrum was incredible. The following month, I organised my first auction curated for Sotheby's, also at the Palais in Cologne. It comprised exquisite wristwatches, fine jewels and sought-after handbags, which met the strong global interest, with participants from 43 different countries, including Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East, enabling the auction to close with a solid result. In addition, 33 percent of the clientele for the inaugural Luxury sale in Cologne were new to Sotheby's, a wonderful success for the team and the selling location. Beyond the Luxury sale in Cologne, I am of course supporting our international auctions in Geneva, New York and Hong Kong, which bring numerous exquisite pieces to the market - including some real 'heartbeat' moments!
The Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet is undoubtedly one of the most important wristwatches that will ever be created. The model we were able to offer during our Important Watches auction in Geneva in May 2022 was possibly the most important example that has ever been offered at auction. It was owned by Gérald Genta himself, the designer of the watch. No other person has had such a deep and lasting influence on the horological world than Gérald Genta. He forever transformed our approach of reading the time, whether it is by the way it is displayed, the shape of the timepieces, the story they tell or the universes they evoke. We sold the watch for 2,107,000CHF against an estimate of 300,000 – 500,000CHF.
I am a huge fan of brooches in general. This particular one has not only a fantastic design but also a fascinating story. Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza married Fiona Campbell-Walter in 1956. He gifted his wife an exceptional 92.01 carats pink Ceylon sapphire that she had mounted in a brooch by her friend, Jean Schlumberger the famous designer who later worked for Tiffany & Co. In 1962, she was photographed by Henry Clarke wearing this piece for Vogue. In November 2022 we sold this fabulous brooch in our Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva for CHF 1,744,000 against an estimate of CHF 300,000 – 500,000.