Top-lots Failed to Sell at Gelos Auction of the Season

On September 30, the Moscow auction house «Gelos» held the opening auction of the season. The important sales featured applied and decorative art pieces, silverware, paintings and drawings, antiquarian weapons, Russian icons and many other rare and unique collectibles that traditionally attract attention of collectors, dealers and connoisseurs of art.

The very same day the year before the Ukrainian branch of «Gelos» held its first sales. At the September auction in Moscow, the Ukrainian branch offered bidders several interesting and important lots. The top-lot of Ukrainian selection was porcelain statuette «Katherine» (Ukraine, 1920–1930) featuring an inscription from a poem by the renowned Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevtchenko on the base of the figurine. Alas, the lot failed to sell at the auction.

According to the experts of the auction house, the top-lot of the sales was an icon from the section of Old Russian icons. The icon «Descent into Hell» (also featuring 20 church feasts) dates back to the second half of XVI century (supposedly, the town of Pskov). The rare and unique icon on a complex theological subject relating to Ivan the Terrible age and to the Moscow metropolitan Makariy can facilitate researchers studying the complicated iconography of the second half of XVI century. Indeed, there are no analogues to that exceptional icon in composition, iconography and technique. However, the lot also remained unsold despite that the auctioneers decreased the starting price of the icon from 2,650,000 roubles to 1,325,000.

The silverware section of the auction included the silver scoop-ladle with a monogram and a memorable engraved inscription: «His Royal Majesty Emperor Nicolas II poured vodka with his own hand and drank health to a regiment on May 21, 1896». The ladle has a memorial value as it is connected with the military history of Imperial Russia. The unique piece was made by the master «KL» who worked for the Moscow branch of the famous firm of Karl Faberge. For some reasons the auctioneers also reduced the starting price of the lot from 300,000 roubles to 270,000. However, the lot did extremely well at the auction, bringing impressive 850,000 roubles.

The silver cigarette case with a portrait of a young woman in a decorative medallion (Russia, Moscow, master unknown, 1908–1917, starting price 13,000 roubles) fetched 17,000 roubles, while a decorative saltcellar with presentation engraving on the bottom «XXV to I.V. Ershov from Techn. Staff of Mariinsky Theater 14.IV.1921.» (Russia, Moscow, workshop of Gustav Klingert, 1892, starting price 10,000 roubles) was purchased by an anonymous buyer for 30,000 roubles.

The sugar bowl made by the firm of I. Sazikov in 1857 (starting price 20,000 roubles) brought 42,000 roubles; the silver cup-holder by the supplier of the Imperial Court I. Khlebnikov (1908–1917, starting price 30,000 roubles) made 55,000 roubles.
The starting price for the Faberge teapot (workshop of A. Vyakev, 1908–1917) was 16,000 roubles. However, the new owner paid 40,000 roubles for the lot. Thus, silverware was the most popular section of the auction.

An Art Nouveau cup and a saucer by Gardner porcelain plant (1870–1890) and paired plates from the Ordinarny service from the Winter Palace (Russia, Imperial Porcelain Factory, 1908) were put up for sale with starting prices 4,500 and 10,000 roubles respectively. The cup was hammered at 10,000 roubles, while the plates remained unsold.

The rare book section featured selection of books by the celebrated Dutch publishing house Elsevier (1581–1712). The books contain texts of classic authors as well as descriptions of faraway countries (the so-called «Republics»). With the starting price 1,000,000 roubles the rare and unique lot realized stunning 2,000,000 roubles. The editions in parchment covers with minor chafes and spots are decorated with engraved front pages, miniatures, vignettes and other ornaments are of great historical and artistic value.

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