2 023 marks the 50th anniversary of Sotheby’s in Asia, where we were the first international auction house to establish a permanent presence in the region with the opening of our Hong Kong office. Today, Sotheby’s is much more than an auction house. Sotheby’s is the destination for cultural expertise and appreciation. It is a hub for the most discerning collectors and lovers of fine arts and luxury in Asia as well as a gateway for the rest of the world to discover the cultural heritage and creativity of Asia. To commemorate this momentous occasion, our anniversary year is overflowing with extraordinary events, exhibitions, and landmark auctions set to take place throughout the region. It is a celebration of a legacy that we have created hand in hand with our community of collectors here in Asia, and alongside the region’s great museums and institutions.
This Spring, we have brought together a curation of seven lots of the most desirable works from the Luxury division, including Handbags, Whisky, Watches and Jewellery for a milestone Evening Sale in Hong Kong. Join us as we celebrate some of the finest works from each category, titled The Exceptionals. As we commemorate the legacy of five decades throughout the year, we also embark on the journey in the next era of Sotheby’s Asia, and the next 50 years to come.
The handbags in the curation showcases the most iconic and sought-after handbags of all time. Maison Lemarié, Hermès handpicked the finest feathers for lot 82, and attached them onto the Kelly one at a time. It creates a beautiful feathers panel, marking an important milestone in Fashion History.
Yamazaki, well known as Japan's first commercial whisky distillery, has only ever released three editions of their iconic 50-Year-Old. The first edition, released in 2005, comprised only 50 bottles, and it is believed that no more than a dozen of these remain in the worldwide market. One extraordinary example of which is offered as Lot 83 in this landmark sale. Even with subsequent releases of Yamazaki 50-Year-Old – in 2007 and again in 2011 – the 2005 First Edition remains the crown jewel of rare Japanese whisky.
To celebrate the 170th anniversary of the partnership between Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co., the Tiffany Blue® dial Nautilus reference 5711 was released in 2021, limited to 170 pieces only. To date, Tiffany & Co. is the only North American brand to have their name “double stamped” on the dial of a Patek Philippe timepiece, which is highly desirable to collectors who are increasingly drawn for their distinctiveness and rarity. A true icon in the world of luxury watches, lot 84 combines distinctive design, unparalleled craftsmanship, and rich history that makes it one of the most coveted timepieces in the world.
為紀念百達翡麗與 Tiffany & Co. 合作170週年，Tiffany & Co. 在2021年限量發行170枚 Tiffany Blue®️ Nautilus 型號 5711 精鋼鏈帶腕錶。迄今為止，Tiffany & Co. 是唯一一家能在百達翡麗腕錶錶盤上印製雙蓋章的北美品牌。這些雙蓋章時計獨特稀有，現在愈來愈受藏家追捧。作為高級腕錶界的真正代表，這枚特別腕錶（拍品編號84）結合了無與倫比的設計、精湛工藝和豐富的歷史，不愧是鐘錶收藏家們最嚮往的腕錶之一。
50 Years New in Asia: Patek Philippe Tiffany Blue® Nautilus
“Cartier, a subtle magician who holds pieces of the moon together with threads of the sun.”
The Tutti Frutti collection of lot 85 and 86 are an unmistakable Cartier emblem, and inextricably linked to its history from the early 20th century. Created after a hundred years from some of the very first Tutti Frutti jewels, they are a homage to one of the most iconic collections from Cartier’s history. Quintessentially a Cartier creation, the bold hues and textures of the gemstones are enhanced by the innovative craftsmanship and extraordinary 21st century design.
50 Years New in Asia: Cartier’s Tutti Frutti, A Vibrant Tale of East Meets West
The Algeiba Star of lot 87 is the biggest Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond to come in auction in recent years at 133 carats, which was first known as the Mahjal diamond after the Maharaja of Kapurthala. The depth of colour from the Algeiba Star is a result of the original rough’s condensed hue, combined with the exceptional skill to ensure its excellence. Throughout history, there have only been a handful of yellow diamonds over hundred carats, such as the 128.54ct Tiffany yellow diamond (originally 287.42 carats) and the 101.29ct Allnatt diamond.
50 Years New in Asia: The Algeiba Star
The Imperial Green jadeite bead necklace of lot 88 is named the Emperor’s Treasure, based on the of the Tianlu Linlang Collection. This was officially named by Emperor Qianlong as ‘Gems of Heavenly Favour’ in 1744, which is the year that Sotheby’s was founded. The beads on this exceptional necklace are well matched, with fine Imperial Green colour and superb texture. With fourty-three beads ranging from 11 – 13mm in size, The Emperor’s Treasure is perfect in its roundness.
「天祿琳琅」帝王綠翡翠珠項鏈（拍品編號88）絕色天成，其命名取自清朝皇室內廷藏書的別稱。乾隆九年（1744年），乾隆帝將內廷藏書賜名「天祿琳琅」，無獨有偶，同一年蘇富比在英國成立。這條項鏈的每顆玉珠均具備濃艷的帝王綠色澤和上乘質料，全鏈共有43顆從 11 到 13 毫米不等的玉珠，每顆均渾圓無暇。
50 Years New in Asia: The Emperor's Treasure
Special thank you to Blanc de Chine for the generous support for our themed photoshoot. All photo credits: Egill Bjarki.