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Elite in the press

June 2012

TWO-DAY AUCTION PACKED WITH FINE CHINESE CARVINGS AND WORKS OF ART, PORCELAIN, ARTWORK & DECORATIVE ARTS WILL BE HELD JUNE 23-24

The auction will be conducted by Elite Decorative Arts at the firm’s gallery in south Florida.

(BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.) – A weekend auction packed with Chinese carvings and works of art, fine porcelain, artwork and decorative arts will be held June 23-24 by Elite Decorative Arts, at the firm’s gallery located in the Quantum Town Center in Boynton Beach (1034 Gateway Blvd., Stes. 106-108). The first gavel will come down at 1 p.m. (EST) both days.

The Saturday, June 23 session will feature over 300 lots of fine porcelain, artwork and decorative arts. An equal number of lots will change hands on Sunday, with a session dedicated to fine Chinese carvings and works of art. Previews will be held Friday, June 22, from 11-5, and on sale days from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Internet bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com.

The expected top lot of the sale is a rare and masterfully carved Chinese rhinoceros horn libation cup from the 17th or 18th century, four inches tall and fitted to a reticulated teakwood base. It has a pre-sale estimate of $150,000-$250,000. The cup was offered at Elite Decorative Arts’ March 17-18 auction, but has been relisted in the upcoming sale because of non-payment.

“We had an unfortunate situation where the winning bidder, named Xiangai Zhao from Shanghai, China, submitted a winning bid of $270,000 through Auctionzip.com, under the buyer name King779, then failed to meet his payment obligation,” said Chris Hayes of Elite Decorative Arts. “I suggest other auction houses selling Chinese antiques online beware of this individual.”

This was a troubling occurrence, but it may also be symptomatic of a more widespread trend. A May 12 report in the Financial Times said up to 40 percent of ‘sold’ items involving Chinese buyers were never paid for. The problem exists in Chinese auctions and in U.S. auctions, too, especially in the sale of high-end Asian bronzes, ivories, pottery and porcelain pieces. Elite was just the trend’s latest victim.

Auction galleries in the U.S. and elsewhere are addressing the problem, with some of them now requiring a large deposit before they’ll accept a bid on an expensive item, If the buyer refuses to make good on his or her winning bid, the deposit is forfeited. “We value our Chinese bidders greatly and don’t want to generate any ill will,” Hayes said. “We would just like our buyers to fulfill their obligations.”

The rhinoceros horn libation cup is quite striking -- finely relief carved as a wooded jungle and rendered in high relief to depict a village scene with trees and people working and resting. One side shows scholars climbing the side of a rock mountain, with many types of trees. The other side depicts a family at the base and a tall and leafy peony tree growing amongst rock.

Chinese Carved Red Coral Figure
Chinese Carved Red Coral Figure

Also offered June 24 will be several stunning fine carved red coral group figures, highly sought after by collectors. Two lots carry pre-sale estimates of $40,000-$60,000. Both are fully relief carved group figures. One depicts two maidens with young girls, plus a phoenix with birds of paradise. The other is a massive hand-carved coral figure depicting Quan Yin, with four birds.

Two other red coral group figures are expected to bring $30,000-$40,000. One depicts Quan Yin, with deer, birds, bamboo trees and flowers. It is finely carved throughout and stands 6 ¾ inches tall, weighing 691 grams. The other depicts a maiden holding a lantern and a fan, with two children to her upper and a young girl under them. It is 8 ¾ inches tall and 1,370 grams.

Also sold at the June 24 session will be a Chinese Ming Dynasty olive glazed pottery vase having a raised design depicting dragons and flora throughout and six rings to the shoulder, with mask design (est. $12,000-$18,000); and a Chinese Cultural Revolution-era hand-carved polychromed ivory group figure of a woman and young child on a stool (est. $6,000-$8,000).

The June 23 session will be somewhat more free-wheeling with the star lots drawn from several different categories. One expected standout is a late 19th century Victorian-style standard grade burled walnut Wooten patent desk, with bronze hardware (est. $10,000-$15,000). The circa 1890 desk is 72 inches wide by 42 inches wide and has several letter slots and a letter box.

Robert Mapplethorpe Orchid Photogravure
Robert Mapplethorpe Orchid Photogravure

Artwork will feature a drawing on paper by James Abbott McNeil Whistler (Am., 1834-1903), of a man and a young girl, 7 ½ inches by 10 ½ inches, framed and matted (est. $6,000-$8,000); and a photogravure by Robert Mapplethorpe (Am., 1946-1989), titled Orchid, of an orchid on a black background, signed and dated, Edition No. 22/27 (est. $8,000-$10,000).

Also sold June 23 will be an 18kt white gold and 2.53-carat diamond bridal ring set, an engagement ring featuring a modern brilliant cut round diamond of VS2 clarity and J color and weighing exactly 1.39 carats (est. $5,000-$10,000). On either side of the center stone is a .25-carat modern brilliant cut diamond. The size 7 ring has a written appraised value of $10,750.

Elite Decorative Arts’ next big sales after this one will be decorative arts auctions slated for July 21 and August 18, also in the firm’s Boynton Beach showroom. Quality consignments are still being accepted. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (561) 200-0893), or toll-free at (800) 991-3340; or, you can e-mail them at info@eliteauction.com.

To learn more about Elite Decorative Arts and the upcoming calendar of events, to include an online catalog of the June 23-24 auction, please log on to www.eliteauction.com.