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A fun day at the auction house !

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Author Topic: A fun day at the auction house !  (Read 1203 times)
Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« on: February 24, 2019, 07:34:42 am »

Hi All,

Long time  no post  from me...   VERY SORRY !   Embarrassed

Actually  I have not been  (too) lazy  because  I have  been  working  on  getting my  2-part   ICSBS  article  on "Contemporary  Schools  of  Inside  Painting"  reprinted   as a  monograph  pamphlet   which will  be  freely available  in  hard / paper  copy  and  also  as  a   free pdf  download, which  George  will  later  post  in the  sidebar  for  perpetuity (I hope).

If  Forum members  wish  for  one  (or  more)   hard  copies   .. even  signed  by me  if they  wish....  I will  later  offer a sensible  way  to  get them,  e.g  post  me  an  address  label  +  a  token  amount  to cover the  cost of  postage etc

This  2-part  article,  which was  based on my  keynote presentation  at the  2014  ICSBS  convention when  it moved to Xian  after  starting  off  in HK,   is  still   pretty  much  "state of the  art" (please  forgive the  accidental  pun  Cheesy )  as  far  as  the   history and   current  status  of  the  5 x  VMIPB  Schools  are concerned . 

I just  re-read  it  in  detail  and  even  I myself  am amazed  at  the  "scholarship"  which  I  diligently researched and  wrote at that  time  when I was  still  in my  "prime" of  collecting, researching  and  documenting  everything that  there  is  to be  known  about  VMIPBs  (hence  my  16 GB  data  base !)

But more  about  that  later  this  year :-)

As  for  recent  news :   Geoff and I had a  very happy   afternoon  yesterday  at a  local  auction house  www.paidegao.com  which was  selling  off the  collection  of  a  wealthy  HK   antique  investor,  among which  were  a  lot  of  SBs,  including   several very  good quality  MIPBs  which were  originally part  of the  J.H. Leung  collection  (  see - "A New  Look of  Inside Painted  Snuff Bottles")

I only got  to  know  about the  auction because a  S'Pore  friend  asked me to  go to  bid  for a few bottles  he  was  interested  in.   I  then informed  Geoff and  Samson, and  we  all looked at the  website we jointly  agreed  to  bid  for  some more  bottles,  avoiding  any mutual  competition,  and  I  went   Friday,  the  day before  the auction,   with Geoff  to  register and  get a  paddle.  (Many  thanks to  Geoff  for  all his  help  on this  matter).

The  auction itself was   a  lot of  fun !   Several of   the  earlier  lots, which  were  various non-descript  Chinese  antiques  went  un-sold / no bids  or else  very low  prices  similar to the  very  conservative  pre-sale estimates. But  some  other lots   went  for  astronomical  prices !

 Lot  1,  pre-sale  estimate HK$20-30K,  went  for  HK$125K,  while  lot 9 : just a necklace  of  carved agar wood  beads,  pre-sale  estimate HK$10-20K,   went  for  an astounding  HK$630,000  (  about  USD80,000) !!!!!!!! 

Therefore  Geoff  and  I were  in some  trepidation when  it came to  the  SBs  at  around  lots 37 - 82, especially  as  neither  of  us  had  much experience  of  bidding at  auctions.

Finally  my  S'pore  friend  got  one of the  3  bottles  he was  interested  in,  Geoff  got  one of the  bottles  he  wanted  (magnificent !)   but  Samson, who could  not  be present  on the  day,  was  completely  out-bid  for the bottles  he  was interested in, sad to say.

I  actually  had  no intention to  bid  for  anything,  having  run out of  funds  - and  shelf space -  long ago  after  retirement in  2013.  But  I fell in  love  with a beautiful  little  Yue  School  bottle  to  which  I had  paid  no particular  interest  when looking  at the  website  (lot  74) ,  but when  Geoff and  I went to  register  on  Friday I was  immediately  struck by  its  delicate   landscape  painting, the  typical  Yue  thin  glass  bottle  shape, and the  gold  top and  bottom borders. 

Having never  bought a  Yue  School  bottle  I thought  it  would  be  fun to  bid  "just a little"   for that  particular  bottle, which  in fact  came from the  J.H. Leung collection  - painted  by a  very  rare  Yue School   lady  artist  :  Lu Danlin  (in fact so  rare  that  I  had  not even  noticed   before  that  she  was  entered  twice  in my  data  base  because  of  different  Chinese  character  spellings  of  her  name   陆 丹 林  / 陆 丹 琳 !)

The  pre-sale  estimate  was  HK$1000,- 1,500   (USD 70-100)  and  I was  mentally  prepared to go to  HK$3-4K   at most.  So  you  can imagine  my  delight  when the  bidding  quickly  stopped  at  HK$1,500   and I won the  bottle  !  AMAZING !!!   Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

After  taking the  bottle  home and  really  examining  it  I  felt  even more  in love  with it  - the  landscape painting is  so detailed  and  in such  gentle  pastel  shades  that  I  have only seen before  except  in  some of  Song Yiming's best bottles,  which  go for  over  RMB20,000   (USD 3,000 +) ... Plus  the  added  bonus  of  owning  a  tiny part  of  J.H. Leung's   historic  collection.....  !

Thus  it really IS possible  to  pick up  real bargains  at  auctions, especially at   the  "minor" auctions   where  SBs  are  just a  small  part

Just one  word  of  caution :  There  was a  lot of  interest  in lot  37 : a  pair of   landscape  bottles  by  Chen  Renpu   from the  J.H  Leung  collection  which  in the  auction  catalog  looked  absolutely  beautiful, and  I  would   have   been  tempted to  bid for them  myself  except  that  two other  collectors  had already  asked  me to  bid for those  bottles.   But  when I saw the  actual  bottles  they  were nothing  like the  photos  -  they looked  so  dull and  ugly  that  at first I could  not believe  it when  Geoff  told me  they were  lot  37  .  Truly - that  was the  case.   The  auction  catalog  pics  were  beautiful  (as were the  pics  in J.H. Leung's  book "New  Look" - and the  pics  in that  book are very low  quality) . But  the  actual  bottles, in real  life, even  with  backlight  were  truly  AWFUL  and  I  would never  have  considered  to buy them  if  I  happened  to  have seen them  on a  shelf  for  sale, regardless  of  how  low  the  price.

So  my   (humble) message  as  a   newbie - and probably  a  complete  idiot -   to  auctions    is that   "auction  catalogs (at least  as regards  IPBs)  can be  very  misleading".

Lot 37  bottle pair  were  10 x  WORSE  than the   catalog  pics,  but  my  lot  74  Lu  Danlin bottle  is  10  x  BETTER   than the  catalog  pic 

:-)

Cheers

Peter



* Page 177-1.jpg (73.72 KB, 486x670 - viewed 185 times.)

* Page 178-1.jpg (41.05 KB, 536x640 - viewed 113 times.)

* Lu Danlin (1986 Yue School) .jpg (101.64 KB, 364x685 - viewed 44 times.)
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 07:42:49 am by Peter Bentley 彭达理 » Report Spam   Logged

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Rube
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2019, 08:21:02 am »

Peter,

That sounds like a fun day, indeed!  It's so nice of you to share your experience with the Forum.
I have never been to an auction featuring snuff bottles, and can only imagine the excitement in the air.
It must be so much better than bidding on an item online.

Congratulations,

Rube.
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2019, 11:09:35 pm »

Yes, it was a good day.

Thanks to Peter's over-enthusiasm waving our paddle (we only had one paddle between us), I managed to win my favourite bottle, slightly over my original top limit but otherwise I would not have won it. And I was really pleased to win it.



It's by Liu Tieqin, side one is Lijiang river at sunset and side two is Ali Mountain, Taiwan, and dated 1987.
It appears on page 96 of A New Look by J.H. Leung.

It now joins my other Liu Tieqin on my display shelves, and a good pair they make.



I was disappointed that Samson did not win a superb (to me at least) 'Caramel Glass Qin Dynasty' bottle but that went for a high price



But as Peter mentioned above, stunning price of the day went to a single strand necklace of Agarwood beads which started at HK$10,000 and eventually finished at HK$630,000 or US$81,900 as you can see from this photo



I hope it's really lucky for the buyer, the auctioneer certainly thought it was a lucky day!

Geoff
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 06:09:19 am »

Well done guys!

Glad you got what you wanted.


Richard
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2019, 08:03:03 am »

Hi Peter, Geoff,

Congratulations on your new acquisitions! Both your bottles are beautiful! I just love landscapes! Geoff, I really like how those clouds are depicted in your bottle, Li River and Ali Mountain, what a theme and combination!

They look better than shown in the catalog too!

Yes, I like that glass bottle I had wanted to get, pretty unique pattern. I actually managed to find a similar reference to it. Despite so, I certainly wasn’t ready and willing to pay the final hammered price for it. So no regret.

Thanks guys!

Best,
Samson
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2019, 05:49:11 pm »

Really great bottles Geoff !!

Congrats !!
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wgeoff
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2019, 08:17:34 pm »

Thanks All

The more I look at it, the more I like it.
As always with new bottles.

I hope the winner feels the same about his Agarwood necklace!
(although I guess I should say 'smell' rather than 'look')

Geoff
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 11:31:38 pm »

Geoff,

The other Liu Tieqin bottle looks very pleasing as well, what a landscape master he is!

Samson
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2019, 08:54:44 am »

Congratulations! Those look beautiful.
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 12:23:42 pm »

To the successful bidders: Congratulations.

To Peter: What you wrote, quoted below, is very accurate.
So  my   (humble) message  as  a   newbie - and probably  a  complete  idiot -   to  auctions    is that   "auction  catalogs (at least  as regards  IPBs)  can be  very  misleading".

Best to all,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 02:56:24 am »

Hi Samson,

Could I ask what price the swirled glass bottle sold for. I have seen others similar to it but none with mask handles.

Regards, Adrian
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 03:46:53 am »

Hi Adrian,

According to Peter, it sold for HKD10,000, or GBP960. I saw a very similar one of Sotheby’s 1980s catalogs. Back then, the estimate was somewhere around GBP400-600.

Best,
Samson
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 07:13:05 am »

congratulations you guys for having a fun time at the auction !

Peter, nice to hear your ' voice' again .

Inn Bok
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2019, 08:01:13 am »

Thanks Samson.
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2019, 03:33:13 pm »

Dear all,
I have been far from my computer for a few days.
Dear Peter, after reading your report, I was going to comment the same point that also has been commented by Joey.
Remember: ALWAYS go to the pre-sale viewing, if you can. You will be surprised by how many items that you found attractive by the catalog are not so attractive in real, as well as the opposite.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2019, 06:58:36 pm »


Peter and Geoff,
Thanks for sharing your recent event at auction.  Beautiful interior painted bottles both.  Each are a genre I collect, and both would fit in my snuff bottle collection very well.

Samson,
Do not feel too bad about the caramel swirl glass bottle that got away.  I have at least two, and I think actually three of these, and older collections often have one which means you'll see more if you keep looking. Two pics are attached of my bottles.  Each of my caramel swirl glass bottles were $600 or less.

Charll


* Carmel Swirl Glass 1.jpg (27.72 KB, 320x480 - viewed 102 times.)

* Carmel Swirl Glass 2a.jpg (59.19 KB, 427x500 - viewed 184 times.)
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Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2019, 08:40:11 pm »

Hi  All,

Thanks  to  you all  for   your  feedback !

Being very much of a  novice to  auctions it had never  really  occurred to me  as  way to  buy  good  quality  MIPBs  before  - and  probably  that  is still the  case  for  V MIPBs simply because they  don't  come  up for  auction (yet)

But as  one can see from  the experience  Geoff and  I  had  : one  can really  pick  up some  bargains  from time to  time .

Both the  Liu Tieqin bottle  Geoff  bought and the  Lu Danlin  Yue School  bottle  I  bought  were  real  bargains.

I think that  in the  heyday  of my  collecting, when  I was  still  working  and  had  big bonuses (OH happy  days.....! )  I would  have  paid up to  HK$15,000  for my  Lu Danlin   bottle,  but  in fact  I got it for  only   $1,500  (plus  15% buyer's  premium)

I also  got  a   beautiful Chen  Runpu  bottle  for  a  S'Pore  friend (lot 51)  for  only  HK$5,000 .  To  put that in perspective : I have a  Chen  Runpu landscape  which  I bought  in 2009  from a  retired  HK  IPB  dealer  who  had  shut  down  his  shop  in  the  early  2000's.  The  marked  price  on   bottle   was  HK$15,000  - and that  was  from the  late  1990's  !  (The  dealer  sold it to me for  HK$10,000  which  I thought  was a  bagain in 2009)

Obviously  the  J.H. Leung  collection was the  first  really big  sell-off  of MIPBs,  which  apparently  happened  shortly after  his death  in the  mid  1990's ,  and  now  collectors  who bought  those  bottles  are   in turn dying   and their  collections  are being  auctioned  off,  hence the  auction  Geoff and  I went to.

But  for  really  top-class  VMIPBs to  come  onto the  auction  market I guess  we  shall  have to  wait  another  20-  25  years ...........      Smiley

In the  meantime,  the   top artists  who  paint THE  best  VMIPBs  need to make a  living  in  China,  where  inflation  is  high, so they need to  charge  HK$2,000  - 3,000  for their  best works

On the  other  hand, there  are  lot  of  early  and middle  period  IPBs being  auctioned these  days

So we  have  the unusual situation   today  that  a   genuine  Zhou  Leyuan  or  Ye Zhongzhan   bottle  may  auction for  a  lower  price  than  a  good  VMIPB  by a    top  current  Master  !

On the  other hand,  it  is  undeniable  that the  painting skill of  modern  artists, even students,  greatly  exceeds the  skills  of even the  top masters  30  years  ago.   This a  topic  I deal  with  at length  in the  second  of my  two  articles  on Contemporary Schools  of  Inside Painting  (see  side bar)

Happy  hunting !

Cheers

Peter





« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 08:59:40 pm by Peter Bentley 彭达理 » Report Spam   Logged

samsonlzj
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2019, 03:10:58 am »


Peter and Geoff,
Thanks for sharing your recent event at auction.  Beautiful interior painted bottles both.  Each are a genre I collect, and both would fit in my snuff bottle collection very well.

Samson,
Do not feel too bad about the caramel swirl glass bottle that got away.  I have at least two, and I think actually three of these, and older collections often have one which means you'll see more if you keep looking. Two pics are attached of my bottles.  Each of my caramel swirl glass bottles were $600 or less.

Charll


Dear Charll,

Caramel swirl pattern on your bottles! I’ll keep buying for mine, in the hope that I’ll someday find one at a fair price!

Thanks!

Samson
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2019, 02:39:17 pm »

Dear Samson,
on March 03, two days before your last post above, I bought on ebay this bottle.
The seller was selling this bottle and the green splashed one that I have posted today with “buy it now” at 60 euro each bottle, but was accepting proposals. I did offer 45 euro each bottle and he accepted.
It has an extensive surface wear, indicating some age. It is nice but to my taste I would be happier if it were just plain, without the two side masks that are not fitting to the already elaborate background.
Kind regards
Giovanni


* IMG_1.jpg (74.37 KB, 1000x726 - viewed 69 times.)

* IMG_2.jpg (62.35 KB, 1000x699 - viewed 98 times.)

* IMG_3.jpg (68.72 KB, 1000x697 - viewed 23 times.)

* IMG_4.jpg (59.58 KB, 1000x686 - viewed 129 times.)

* IMG_5.jpg (61.65 KB, 1000x714 - viewed 39 times.)
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2019, 02:55:45 pm »

Very nice and a bargain for both bottles ..

Congrats !
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