From Kama Sutra to Cuba

On Sunday at our Sydney Jewels & Objets D’Art auction the collection and the results had a distinctly adventurous flavour. While late in the auction, lot 306 typified this trend when a full set of Indian erotic playing cards were offered for sale. The ivory cards from the early 20th century were individually hand-painted with imagery from the Kama Sutra story. The set realised a staggering $9,150 (IBP).


fdsContinuing the erotica theme, lot 272, a beautifully enamelled continental silver cigarette case depicting a classically posed nude female and retailed by the pre-Castro Cuban establishment La Casa Quintana, realised $6,100 (IBP). But erotica was not the only adventurous auction theme. The fine jewels on offer also reflected a far more adventurous appetite with bold designs and colour combinations enjoying most of the buyer attention.

A pair of lavish sapphire and diamond earrings designed  with scrolling tops and multiple sapphire tassels were a perfect example of this trend – lot 165 in the auction, they sold for $5856 (IBP). Similarly exotic were lot 42,  a pair of South Sea pearl and diamond earrings designed as delicately pave set snakes with exquisite garnet eyes and suspending round pearls. Unquestionably for that special evening party, they finally sold for $3660 (IBP).

trqSigned Tiffany and Cartier pieces also sold exceedingly well with a classic Cartier bangle, lot 166, in platinum from the “Love” collection selling for $7930 (IBP) and a classic Tiffany solitaire diamond ring, lot 45, realising $14,640 (IBP). Of the more curious items, lot 248, a European silver mounted walking stick with a recumbent mermaid as handle more than tripled its estimate to sell for $2318 (IBP). With more than $400,000 in objects and jewels changing hands Sydney specialist Robert Williams was encouraged by the depth of buying.

Robert Williams: “Our quarterly auctions are in every sense classic decorative arts and jewellery affairs and despite changing tastes and new collecting habits, I was pleased to see buying across every category and period and this reassures me that collecting is not fading it is rather changing.”