Safavid brass map

Safavid engraved brass map of the world, £1.5m at Bonhams.

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£1.5m for Safavid view of the world

A rare Islamic Mecca-centred world map, considered a masterpiece from Safavid Persia, took a low-estimate £1.5m hammer price at Bonhams on November 14.

Including buyer’s premium it made £1.86m at the Islamic and Indian Art sale. The engraved brass map dated to the last quarter of the 17th century and Bonhams said the discovery of these maps in the 1980s proved a real turning point in the academic understanding of Islamic cartography.

Recognised by the historian and author, Dr David King as the only surviving examples of Islamic world maps with localities properly marked on a coordinate grid, the maps changed understanding of Islamic cartographers and the scientific sophistication of their instruments. The instrument was on loan to Harvard Museum for 15 years.

New York flagship sales total $2.13bn

Monet painting

Le Moulin de Limetz by Claude Monet, $22m (£17.9m) at Sotheby’s New York.

The overall total at the latest series of Modern and Contemporary art auctions in New York looked relatively robust with the sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips raising $2.13bn (£1.74bn) including fees.

Although the total was behind the record $3.23bn (£2.84bn) for the equivalent series last year (helped in no small part by the Paul Allen sale at Christie’s), the amount raised ranked above all but three of the last 10 series held in the Big Apple in November.

The highest grossing sale was the $406.4m (£330.4m) auction of 31 works from the Emily Fisher Landau collection which included the $121m (£98.4m) Picasso portrait reported in last week’s ATG.

Among the sales that took place last week was Sotheby’s Modern Evening auction which raised $223.3m (£181.6m) with fees and was led by Claude Monet’s Peupliers au bord e l’Epte, temps couvert from 1891, which was knocked down below estimate to an Asian collector at $26.5m.

More bidding came for Monet’s Le Moulin de Limetz from 1888 that was consigned by descendants of Chicago collectors Bertha and Potter Palmer. Pitched at $12m-18m, it sold at $22m (£17.9m) with the underbidder from Asia.

Paul Martin joins Titantic specialists

Titanic-specialist Henry Aldridge and Son has hired Paul Martin as head of valuations.

Martin, who was the presenter of BBC show Flog It! which ran for 17 years, has since starred in a number of antiques related TV shows as well as running his antiques shop, The Table Gallery in Corsham, Wiltshire.

Henry Aldridge and Son, in Devizes, Wiltshire is well known for its focus on Titanic related memorabilia auctions. But it also has regular art, antiques, collectables and jewellery auctions.

Alfies' dealer opens auction house

Alfies basement

The newly rennovated basement at Alfies featuring a rotating programme of pop-up exhibitions

A dealer at Alfies Antique Market on London’s Church Street has started an auction house in the basement of the antiques centre.

Abdul Hadi Noori runs Bakhter Art, specialising in Afghani jewellery, Islamic and Central Asian antiques, and Afghan textiles, and his son Ahmad have launched Grand Auction House.

It ran its first sale in September offering more than 300 lots of antiques and jewellery and the next, featuring more than 400 lots, takes place on Wednesday (November 22).

The basement has also become home to dealers previously at Hampstead Antiques Emporium which closed down earlier this year.

They have launched a rotating series of pop-up art exhibitions (the current one, Art in Two Medias, features the work of Eva Ratz and Monique Parsons) and renovated the kitchen area.

Upstairs at Alfies, dealer ship Diplomat s Treasures Gallery is holding a pop-up show of hyper realist artist Michael French.

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In Numbers


The hammer total for the four-day sale of 1777 lots of entertainment memorabilia held by PropStore of Rickmansworth on November 9-12.