Sotheby’s Ultimate 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

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The season of giving is here, and Sotheby’s has curated the perfect holiday gift list to inspire you. Whether it’s an ultra-rare first-edition book, memorabilia from your favourite band or a dazzling winter-themed jewel, our selection of objects from upcoming auctions around the world offers something for everyone. As a special addition to our sale lineup, Sotheby’s is partnering with IfOnly to present an auction of highly covetable experiences, including tickets to the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton – and a chance to party with the cast. Click ahead and be inspired by the gifts on Sotheby’s holiday wish list this season.

Sotheby’s Ultimate 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

  • J.K. Rowling, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, 2007. Estimate £300,000–500,000 ($368,010–613,350).
    This book , one of six presentation copies which was hand-written and illustrated by J.K. Rowling, holds considerable significance as it was presented to British publisher Barry Cunningham, who famously accepted the first Harry Potter book for publication. In a dedication written in the front of the book, Rowling wrote: “To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell… THANK YOU.” 

    To be offered in English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations on 13 December in London. 


  • 18-karat gold, hematite, diamond and coloured stone brooch, Bulgari, France. Estimate $7,000–9,000.
    Designed as a Christmas tree, this Bulgari brooch is set with carved green tourmaline, accented by “ornaments” of cabochon amethysts, blue and yellow sapphires, rubellites and round diamonds. 

    To be offered in Fine Jewels on 9 December in New York.  

  • Two orchestra seat tickets to Hamilton and after-party access with the cast. Estimate $3,000–5,000.
    Part of Sotheby’s exciting online sale with IfOnly, this gift unlocks access to the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton. In addition to seats at the Tony Award-winning musical, these tickets allow access to the after-party, where you can mingle with the cast.  

    To be offered in IfOnly Presents: The Experiences Auction online on 28 November–9 December.  

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), “The Sweetest Story Ever Told. Matilda the Compassionate Elefant Who Devotes her Days to the Hatching of Orphan Humming-Bird Eggs.” Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    Dating from around 1938, this delightful original drawing comprises the earliest known version of Dr Seuss’s beloved character Horton (here a female elephant, Matilda), seated on a small egg. 

    To be offered in Icons of Children’s Illustration online on 30 November–14 December.  

  • The Beatles, London News and Star Promotional Poster, circa 1964. Estimate $4,000–6,000 (left). The Beatles – The Beach Boys, Closed Circuit Concert at the Washington Coliseum, Promotional Poster. 14–15 March 1964. Estimate $300–400 (right). The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night 24 Sheet Movie Poster, 1964. Estimate $2,500–3,000 (centre).
    Fab Four memorabilia is always highly desirable, no matter its vintage, but collectibles from 1964 hold a particular significance to the fans who remember the Beatles’s US invasion. On 7 February 1964, John, Paul George and Ringo landed at Kennedy airport in New York and greeted by a mob of screaming fans. The rest was pop culture history.

    All to be offered in A Rock & Roll Anthology: From Folk to Fury on 10 December in New York. 

  • Panerai, A rare special edition titanium cushion-form skeletonised tourbillon dual time zone wristwatch circa 2016. Estimate HK$700,000–900,000 ($90,230–116,010).
    Limited to only 150 examples, this model sports an impressive number of features, including a 30-second rotating tourbillon, a power reserve display and a second time zone indication. Combining the highly innovative titanium case, ultra-light movement and unconventional tourbillon, PAM578 is easily the most technically awe-inspiring Panerai both in its inner workings and exterior.  

    To be offered in Fine Timepieces on 28 November in Hong Kong. 

  • Marc Chagall, Juif à la Thora. Estimate $1,500,000–2,000,000.
    Painted in 1968–1978, Marc Chagall’s Juif à la Thora is a magnificent homage to his Jewish heritage and his upbringing in the traditional world of Vitebsk. The composition derives from a drawing, which Chagall executed in the aftermath of the Second World War in 1947, and was used as the frontispiece of his friend Joseph Opatoshu’s book The Last Revolt, The Story of Rabbi Akiba, 1948. 

    To be offered in Israeli & International Art on 15 December in New York. 

  • Hermitage Rouge 2005 JL Chave, 12 bottles. Estimate £1,500–2,000 ($1,834–2,445).
    According to Serena Sutcliffe, MW, Honorary Chairman, Sotheby’s Wine, this collection features incredible red Rhône wines, few could resist plunging into “as the winter solstice approaches and robust, warming dishes are prepared.” 

    To be offered in A Private Continental Collection on 30 November in London. 

  • An Italian red and gilt lacquered tray table, Piedmont, circa 1740. Estimate £6,000–10,000 ($7,360–12,267).
    This tray table is a prime example of the delicate art of lacquering in 18th century Northern Italy. Decorated with chinoiserie landscape and stylised scrolls and foliage, this piece is beautiful on its own or topped with holiday decor. 

    To be offered in The Vittorio & Caterina Di Capua Collection, Turin on 8 December in London. 

  • Diamond demi-parure. Estimate £2,500–3,000 ($3,056–3,667).
    Designed as snowflakes accented by diamonds, these jewels will add a wintry sparkle to coats, hats or gloves for chic cold-weather dressing. 

    To be offered in The Wish List: Jewellery, Watches and Accessories Online on 28 November–12 December. 

  • Brian Hamill, Manhattan. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    Used on the poster for Woody Allen’s Manhattan, this iconic photograph featuring Allen and Diane Keaton was taken at 3:45 AM as the evening’s shoot was just finishing. Brian Hamill, hired to capture stills from the film, remembers that for this particular scene under the Queensboro Bridge, Allen “wanted that tint of dawn coming up” and had to make sure “the bridge people kept the lights on.” 

    To be offered in Exceptional Exposures: 20th Century Photographs Online on 28 November–12 December.  

  • J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    For those who love modern fantasy books, what could be better than the first editions of all three volumes of Lord of the Rings ? While serving in the trenches in the First World War, Tolkien conceived of these tales set in a “secondary World,” for consolation and pleasure; they developed over a period of forty years into an epic narrative.  

    To be offered in Fine Books & Manuscripts Including Americana on 6 December in New York. 

  • Ludwig Bemelmans, “In Rain,” from Madeline (published 1939). Estimate $35,000–45,000.
    This large, original watercolour from the first Madeline book illustrates Miss Clavel and the twelve little girls leaving their house in their two straight lines, all holding umbrellas under the rain, with Notre-Dame in the background.  

    To be offered in Icons of Children’s Illustration online on 30 November–14 December. 

  • Sailing lesson on an America’s Cup Yacht for up to ten guests. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    Under the guidance of former America’s Cup sailors, this rare opportunity, part of the IfOnly sale, presents a chance to crew a restored yacht on the waters of the Long Island Sound.  

    To be offered in IfOnly Presents: The Experiences Auction on 28 November–9 December.  

  • Lady Gaga, Penthouse lace-up patent leather black boots. Estimate $2,000–3,000.
    From 2010, these fierce lace-up boots were worn by Lady Gaga around the time of her worldwide Monster Ball Tour, and they are accompanied by a letter attesting to their authenticity. 

    To be offered in A Rock & Roll Anthology: From Folk to Fury on 10 December in New York. 

  • Line Vautrin, ‘La Reconnaissance est la Mémoire du Coeur’ Box, circa 1946 (left). Estimate $7,000–9,000. Line Vautrin, ‘Comptable’ Box, circa1945 (right). Estimate $6,000–8,000.
    Dubbed “The Poetess of Metal” by Vogue in 1948, Line Vautrin was admired for her elegant jewellery, mirrors and sculpted objects. Made with precious metals and lined with cork, Vautrin’s decorative boxes frequently displayed poems, images and, as in the example above, quotations.  

    Both to be offered in Important Design on 14 December in New York. 

  • Gem-set and diamond dragon bracelet, early 20th Century. Estimate HK$640,000–800,000 ($82,496–103,120).
    This articulated diamond bracelet is accented with a low relief millegrain-set calibré-cut ruby, onyx and rock crystal dragon. As a symbol of imperial hierarchy with its mythical powers and legendary greatness, the dragon represents the highest spiritual power of change and transformation, as well as wisdom and good fortune.  

    To be offered in Important Jewels and Jadeite on 28 November in Hong Kong. 

  • Pablo Picasso, Profil de taureau (A.R. 317). Estimate $2,000–3,000.
    The bull is a theme Picasso pursued his whole life across various media, including this plaque. The animal can even be considered a symbol of the artist himself. 

    To be offered in Prints & Multiples Online on 1–16 December.  
  • Mick Jagger on the set of Performance, October 1968. ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s. Prices range from £3,000–15,000 ($3,667–18,336), depending on size and edition number.
    This print is from an exhibition of photographs taken on the set of the iconic 1970 British film Performance, starring James Fox, Anita Pallenberg and Mick Jagger in his acting debut. At the time considered highly controversial, this groundbreaking portrait of 1960s London retains its ability to shock nearly 50 years later.   

    To be offered in the Performance by Cecil Beaton selling exhibition on 25 November–23 December in London. 

  • A finely carved and reticulated russet jade ‘Deer and Lingzhi’ finial, Song dynasty. Estimate HK$30,000–50,000 ($3,867–6,446).
    According to an ancient Chinese Myth, the deer is the only creature that knows where to find the fungus of immortality (lingzhi). Well rendered as two deer standing before dense foliage and two lingzhi blooms, this jade work is intended to convey the wish of longevity.  

    To be offered in The Muwen Tang Collection of Chinese Jades on 1 December in Hong Kong. 

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