Last year’s trends – high gold prices and exceptional demand for coloured gemstones and jewellery by celebrated ateliers – look set to continue in 2021. Here ATG previews a selection of upcoming sales.
This gold, silver and enamel pendant locket to be offered by Fellows (23/15% buyer’s premium) in Birmingham on January 21 is modelled as an officer’s helmet of the Russian Imperial Guard. Opening to reveal two compartments, it has the mark of Erik August Kollin (1836-1901), the head work master at Fabergé from 1872-86.
A handful of these novelties, made for the loved ones of imperial guardsmen, are known including another in the Hermitage and the example from the Hammer collection that sold at Sotheby’s for £5000 in November 2019.
According to its label from the Russian Exhibition held in New York and Chicago in 1933-34, the latter was from the playroom of Tsesarevich Alexei at Alexander Palace and originally contained photographs of Nicholas II and the empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
Fellows expects its example to bring £1800-2400.
The Imperial Guard, the bulk of the regiments stationed in and around St Petersburg in peacetime, was disbanded after the October Revolution in 1917. Ben Randall, specialist at Fellows, says it is “a delight to be able to offer something with such emotive narrative encapsulated in such a small piece”.
From Karl to Susan
Christie’s New York (25/20/14.5% buyer’s premium) holds an online sale of Chanel fashion jewellery that closes on January 29. The Susan and Karl of the auction title references Susan Gutfreund and the couturier Karl Lagerfeld, who personally gave her costume jewels made for the Chanel runway.
Many of these pieces are prototypes from the late 20th century, not originally intended for a retail consumer. As such, many of the lots are fragile (and may not withstand regular wear or use) but most are rarities. This pair of oversized earrings, each designed as a faux pearl suspending a gilt metal and resin urn, 4½in (11cm) high, is estimated at $3000-5000.
Hair to the throne
The contents sale of Newbold Pacey Hall in Warwickshire by Golding Young & Mawer (24% buyer’s premium) on January 27-28 includes this rare collection of hair lockets.
Each in a labelled gold frame, they purport to offer locks of hair from Edward IV, George II, George III, Queen Charlotte, Ernest King of Hanover, George IV, William IV and The Duke of Wellington.
Samples of hair from the Wars of the Roses monarch Edward IV’s tomb were collected when his tomb was rediscovered in March 1789 during the restoration of St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
When the lead coffin was opened tufts of long brown hair were found near the skull, with shorter hair of the same colour on the neck of the skeleton.
The collection is offered together with an account of the opening of another royal exhumation at Windsor Castle – that of Charles I on April 1, 1813 – as penned by the royal physician Sir Henry Halford who was witness to the occasion.
The estimate is £1500-2500.
Newbold Pacey Hall has been the seat of the Little family since the house was built by William Little in c.1780-90.