Ancient Chinese jade bear roars to $8 million at Elite Decorative Arts, Dec. 10 An ancient Chinese Eastern Han Dynasty solid nephrite jade bear, made between 475 B.C.-220 A.D., sold for a little more than $8 million at a multi-estate auction held Dec. 10 by Elite Decorative Arts.
News-Antique.com - Dec 19,2011 - (BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.) – An exceedingly rare, ancient Chinese Eastern Han Dynasty solid nephrite jade bear, made between 475 B.C.-220 A.D. and exhibiting extensive calcification due to centuries of extended burial, sold for a little more than $8 million at a multi-estate auction held Dec. 10 by Elite Decorative Arts, at the firm’s gallery located in the Quantum Town Center.
The nephrite (greenstone) bear was by far the top lot of the nearly 300 items that changed hands in an auction that grossed around $9 million. But the bear was also a bargain for the buyer who wished not to be identified -- it carried a pre-sale estimate of $10 million-$20 million. Such numbers have become commonplace for Chinese antiquities, which are now red hot collectibles.
A combination of factors contributed to the bear’s desirability. It was the largest jade sculpture known of its time. It was made for a significant figure or ruler, with whom it had been buried. The cup-shaped opening at the top of the head meant it was made for a stand or base for a significant object. And it came with impeccable credentials from a Beijing authenticating firm.
“This is the second item we’ve sold for more than $1 million. No other auction house in Florida can say that,” said Chris Hayes of Elite Decorative Arts, adding, “This sale did as we’d hoped, which was quite well. Prices were high and 80 percent of the lots sold.” About 120 people came to bid in person, while over 650 bidders registered online, through LiveAuctioneers.com.
One other lot flirted with the $1 million mark but fell short. It was a magnificent Russian silver enameled box with an oval panel to cover showing a miniature landscape painting after Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (Russ., 1832-1898), and a multi-colored enameled design of a prince with a sword and eagles. The box, with Fedor Ruckert workmaster marks, fetched $862,500.
Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium for in-house and telephone winning bids and 18 percent for online winners.
An impressive 18th century six-piece Chinese relief carved ivory and cloisonné tea set gaveled for $10,620. The set consisted of a relief carved double gourd-shaped teapot with chicken spout and handle (6 ½ inches tall), four cups with raised scroll design (each 1 ¾ inches tall) and a bronze and enamel cloisonné floral under plate with eight polychromed plaques.
An 18kt yellow gold gem jadeite and diamond ring, comprising a translucent green oval cabochon stone with 26 colorless diamond baguettes in yellow gold all in a fancy cocktail ring mounting, slipped on a new finger for $9,735. The ring, a size 6 ½ held the Arthur King maker’s mark and boasted a 21 total diamond weight (32.8 grams), plus a G.I.A. certification from 1967.
An original pastel gouache on paper rendering of a male and female figure in an abstract manner by Theo Tobiasse (French/Israeli, b. 1927) climbed to $6,785. The signed, matted and framed