Swords, Snuff Bottles & Single Owner Sales

On Sunday the 19th of May 2013 Leonard Joel undertook the dispersal of both historic and important single-owner collections. Three very distinct collections dominated the auction with the Menzies family entrusting Leonard Joel with the sale of a highly important sword and other memorabilia owned by the late Sir Robert Menzies. Additionally, the Ruddock collection comprising antiquities and important sculpture attracted strong international bidding and a very rare collection of snuff bottles owned by a Melbourne collector drew out the largest gathering of related collectors Leonard Joel has ever seen.

The haunting cover lot marble bust from the Ruddock collection titled God Unknown and created in 1927 by the Lithuanian-American Lovet-Lorski (lot 50) set the buoyant mood for the auction and realised $21,960 (IBP), finally selling to an interstate bidder.Similarly, a classical marble bust of a woman from the same collection (lot 54) went to an international collector and sold for a staggering $39,040 (IBP) which was more than 10 times its conservative estimate. Lot 79, the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund sword from the Menzies family collection, was eagerly anticipated and again went to an international bidder for $91,500 (IBP). The sword enjoyed a fascinating provenance having originally been awarded to Charles Menzies for bravery during the Napoleonic War who then went on to found the city of Newcastle, New South Wales.

49The diverse and exotic nature of the single-owner collections on offer was exemplified by the 53 lot collection of snuff bottles that had been accumulated by a Melbourne collector over the last 40 years. Lots 160 – 213 carried a combined low estimate of $22,000 and after intense bidding in the room and on the phones sold for a total of $89,000 (IBP), more than quadrupling pre-sale estimates! John Albrecht, Managing Director: “I had one London collector on the phone that was blown away by the prices and commented that we were exceeding international prices for similar pieces. This confirmed to me once again that the antiques trade is now largely globalised and that an efficient market can be found anywhere where the digital marketing and selling platform is first rate.” While many of the snuff bottles sold for many times their estimates the most exciting price was realised for lot 164, a finely rendered ivory bottle depicting a complex scene of pagodas and figures in landscape. The conservative estimate was set at $400 – $600 but the hammer only fell when it reached $13,420 (IBP).  The Sunday auction realised $851,000 (IBP) and marked the dispersal of now 17 distinct single owner collections this financial year which confirmed Leonard Joel’s status as the busiest single-owner specialist in the country. For enquiries regarding your valuable single item or collection please contact
Guy Cairnduff: t 03 8825 5611 e:
Giles Moon: t 03 8825 5635 e:
John Albrecht: t 03 8825 5619 e: