Important Burma Ruby Ring from the Alice Appleton Hay Collection Sells for $1.3 Million
Rare Pistol-Shaped Pocket Watch and Perfume Sprinkler from the Hay Collection Achieves $482,500
Antique Diamond Currant Leaf Brooch Formerly Part of the French Crown Jewels Fetches $332,500
International bidding drove strong prices at Doyle New York’s April 13, 2011 sale of Important Estate Jewelry. With competition from the salesroom, the telephones, absentee bids and the Internet the sale totaled $9,143,482, far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $4,393,400-6,262,800 with 80% sold by lot and 91% sold by value.
Important Burma Ruby
Highlighting the auction was a spectacular ruby ring by Cartier from the collection of Alice Appleton Hay (1887-1987) the daughter-in-law President Lincoln’s private secretary John Hay. Set with a natural Burma ruby of 6.29 carats, the ring attracted a great deal of international interest in the weeks leading up to the sale. Strong competitive bidding drove its price past the pre-sale estimate of $60,000-80,000 to reach for a staggering $1,314,500. At over $200,000 per carat, this is one of the highest prices per carat ever achieved for a ruby at auction.
Rare Pistol-Shaped Timepiece and Perfume Sprinkler
Another noteworthy lot from the Hay Collection was very rare and important gold pocket watch and perfume sprinkler in the form a miniature flintlock pistol that achieved $482,500, several times its estimate of $100,000-150,000. When the trigger is pulled on this circa 1805 pistol, a flower emerges from the barrel sprinkling the target with perfume. Attributed to the Geneva firm of Moulinie, Bautte & Cie and manufactured for the Chinese market, this piece is one of fewer than fifteen examples known to exist.
Art Deco Diamond Chain
A circa 1920 platinum and diamond long chain necklace from the Hay Collection was noteworthy for the quality and size of the diamonds and the workmanship. Totaling 48.00 carats and measuring 55 inches, the necklace achieved a stunning $452,500, many times its estimate of $50,000-70,000.
Diamants de La Couronne de France
Bearing an Imperial provenance was an antique silver, gold and diamond Currant Leaf 'en pampille' brooch, circa 1850, that soared past its estimate of $50,000-70,000 to fetch $332,500. The brooch was part of the French Crown Jewels sold at an historic auction in the Louvre in 1887 following the fall of Napoleon III and his wife, Empress Eugenie. Tiffany & Co. was the largest purchaser at the sale, successfully buying almost a third of the crown jewels. These included two lots from the spectacular Currant Leaf diamond parure made by Bapst, the French Crown Jeweler, for Empress Eugenie. The brooch came with an antique box from Tiffany's Paris showroom and an inscribed calling card from the legendary banker J. Pierpont Morgan presenting the brooch to one of Mrs. Hay's forebears.
Two pendant-necklaces from the Hay Collection were the objects of much interest. An Art Deco platinum, carved pink tourmaline necklace adorned with black onyx, pearls and diamonds by Cartier achieved $230,500, many times its estimate of $30,000-50,000. An unsigned platinum, diamond and carved emerald pendant-necklace sold for $218,500, far surpassing its estimate of $50,000-70,000.
Vca Mystery-Set Brooch
Property from other collections and estates featured a mystery-set ruby and emerald flower clip-brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels. The brooch doubled its estimate of $60,000-80,000, selling for $158,500. Iconic VCA mystery-set jewelry is currently the subject of an exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York.
Upcoming Jewelry Auctions
Fine Jewelry: June 23, 2011
Important Estate Jewelry: Fall 2011
Consignments are currently being accepted. We are always available to discuss the sale of an individual piece or an entire collection. For information, please contact Ann Lange at 212-427-4141, ext. 221 or email jewelry@DoyleNewYork.com