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Hammer highlights

This agate, coral and gem set cigarette box (below), offered by Sotheby’s (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in London on December 13 with hopes of £4000-6000, is worked as two fish, each with ruby cabochon eyes exhaling rows of seed pearl bubbles. As well as Italian assay marks, the hinges are inscribed 6 Febbraio 1939.

In 2014 Dreweatts sold an agate and sapphire bowl by Ravasco for £4200 and Sotheby’s referenced a similar cigarette box mounted with three coral fish sold for £11,500 in July 2008. However, this example, recently exhibited at the Villa Necchi Campiglio, Milan, took £48,000.

Ravasco died with no next of kin and left his wealth and workshop contents to the Stelline Girls’ Orphanage in Milan.

The entire collection was sold at a large auction held at the orphanage in 1961.