Chest of drawers

The chest of drawers delivered to Marie-Antoinette in 1770 – estimate €800,000-1.2m at Christie’s Paris.

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Marie-Antoinette items come to Paris sale

Christie’s Paris is to offer two lots formerly in the collection of Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France before the Revolution.

A chest of drawers with Chinese-inspired red and gold decoration and an armchair by Georges Jacob will be offered during at The Exceptional Sale on November 22, during Christie’s Classic Week.

The chest of drawers was delivered to Marie-Antoinette at the Château de Compiègne in 1770 and its pair is in Versailles. This part of the pair is offered with an estimate of €800,000-1.2m.

The carved armchair, decorated in the Etruscan style, is part of the last order delivered by Georges Jacob for the queen’s bedchamber in Versailles. During the French Revolution, all the royal furniture was abandoned at the palace and was later sold by the National Convention. In 1793 over 17,000 lots were auctioned, including this armchair. Three of this series of four chairs have found their way back to Versailles, where they are on public display.

This chair is offered for sale with an estimate of €100,000-200,000.

Olympia jewellery team expands

Justin Roberts

Justin Roberts of Olympia Auctions.

Olympia Auctions has appointed Justin Roberts to its jewellery team, joining existing specialists Anabel Yorke and Henrietta Grant.

He has spent more than 25 years as a senior jewellery specialist and historian, writing and lecturing on the subject of antique jewellery from the 18th to the early 20th century. Roberts has worked for many auction houses, including Sotheby’s, where he was a senior specialist and associate director.

Export ban for record RAF VC

Pongo Scarf

Squadron Leader ASK ‘Pongo’ Scarf.

An export block has been issued on a Victoria Cross medal in the hope a UK buyer will emerge.

It was awarded posthumously to Squadron Leader ASK ‘Pongo’ Scarf for recognition of his bravery on a daylight raid on Singora, Malaya.

Scarf was in command of 62 Squadron in 1941 who were flying Blenheims close to the Malay-Thai border when the Japanese attacked.

He achieved his bombing run, despite the rest of the planes being attacked before they took off, but was mortally wounded on his return journey.

Scarf crash landed at Alor Star without causing any injury to his crew but died two hours later in hospital.

His sacrifice was recognised nearly five years later when King George presented the VC to his widow Sally at Buckingham Palace.

It was sold at Spink on April 27 along with four other medals awarded to Scarf for £550,000 (£660,000 with premium), against an estimate of £350,000-450,000 (see ATG No 2541). The price was a record for a RAF VC.

The decision on the export licence application for the medal will be deferred until January 27. A buyer must raise £660,000 (plus VAT of £22,000 which can be reclaimed by an eligible institution).

It’s a second US Constitution

US Constitution

A first-edition printed copy of the US Constitution to be offered at Sotheby’s on December 13 with an estimate of $20m-30m.

Just a year after Sotheby’s sold a first-edition printed copy of the US Constitution for a hammer price of $41m (£30.4m), a second is coming to auction next month.

As adopted by America’s founding fathers at a convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the document is one of just 13 known copies of the official printing produced for the delegates to Constitutional Convention and for the Continental Congress.

The copy to be offered on December 13 has an estimate of $20m-30m. It last appeared at auction in Philadelphia in 1894, as part of the legendary collection of Charles Colcock Jones, a Georgia lawyer, politician, and amateur historian. It was bought for collector Adrian Van Sinderen (1887-1963).

The copy that sold in November 2021 was bought by hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin, founder and CEO of US investment firm Citadel, who agreed to loan it to Crystal Bridges Museum of American art in Arkansas for public exhibition. He out-bid a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts called ConstitionDAO who crowdfunded a sum of $40m.

These two editions are the only two copies of the first printing of the Constitution in private hands.

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In Numbers


A pair of of period NHS style glasses ordered by Warner Bros for use in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.


The number of ‘pairs of period NHS style glasses’ ordered by Warner Bros for use in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – as shown on the invoice from prop maker Simon Murray which accompanies one such pair to be offered on November 11 at Brighton and Hove Auctions. The estimate is £10,000- 20,000 with proceeds going to charity.