There probably isn’t a stretch of highway between Beverly Hills and Newport Beach that auctioneer Don Presley doesn’t know. That’s his turf, and when the owners of fine estates in those well-heeled communities decide to part with their art and antiques, it’s often Presley whose number they call on speed dial. True to form, the Orange, Calif., auctioneer has gathered together an outstanding array of primarily European, Asian and American art and antiques for his May 7-8 auction, with much of it coming from prestigious local addresses.
A Beverly Hills consignor was the source for a pair of superb, 30-inch-tall Chinese carved-ivory emperor and empress figures. “The carving is fantastic, and I’ve never seen ivory figures of this type in such a large size,” said Presley. The star lot amongst 250 Chinese antiques cataloged in the sale, the marked figures will be offered as a pair with a $6,000-$10,000 estimate. A heavily carved 19th-century ivory and gilded-silver German tankard is very similar in style to the 17th-century drinking vessels made in the Bavarian city of Ausberg. “Those earlier tankards are held in distinguished collections, including those of the Victoria & Albert Museum and Bunratty Castle in Ireland. They were made for kings and nobles.” The example in Presley’s sale is profusely carved with images of mythological and other characters. The finial depicts a Native American draped in a bearskin, with a powder horn, tomahawk and shield. Overall, the tankard stands over 20 inches tall. It is expected to bring $15,000-$25,000.
In Presley’s last sale, bullish prices were paid for Sevres urns, with two of them selling to a Russian buyer. The May 7-8 auction includes a magnificent 40-inch tall, 19th-century Sevres lidded urn with scenes of a finely dressed couple in a garden on one side and a waterfall and mountain landscape on the other. Straight from a Beverly Hills estate and bearing all the proper marks for Sevres, it is estimated at $8,000-$12,000. A second Sevres urn, 17 inches tall and beautifully decorated with winged ladies, carries an identical estimate.
An exquisite gilt bronze 19th-century French clock and candelabra suite features “jeweled” adornments and hand-painted enameling. It came from the same Beverly Hills estate as a very fine silver-over-bronze centerpiece with mirrored base and cut-crystal bowls. Measuring 15½ inches tall by 35 inches wide, it is marked with the quatrefoil for the Sheffield silversmiths Henry Wilkinson & Co. The reserve on the centerpiece is $18,000. Presley observed that silver “is really rolling at the moment.” In his sale, he has cataloged a 40-piece collection of old silver from a San Bernardino estate that includes tea sets, a Tiffany bowl, an inkwell, a Paul Revere bowl, Wallace flatware and three Georg Jensen pieces.
Another silver collection, which came from a Laguna Beach consignor, includes six silver plates with a tray, a sterling inkwell and some very nice Pairpoint triple-plated candelabra. Additionally, there are pieces of German 19th-century .800 silver that were made in the manner of 17th-century silver. The furniture selection is led by a 95-inch-tall by 72-inch-wide kingwood and ormolu vitrine by Francois Linke, arguably the finest French cabinetmaker of the Belle Epoque period. Linke’s designs were highly influential in their day and were coveted by fashionable French society.
The vitrine, which is signed and stamped, is offered with a $60,000-$125,000 estimate. Although unsigned, a small curio cabinet attributed to Linke will be auctioned, as will a small Linke table and bronze 4-light chandelier acquired some years ago at Sotheby’s. A premier piece of American furniture came from a Newport Beach estate. Made around 1790-1800, the Hepplewhite secretary features glazed double doors with diamond-shape accents opening to triple shelves, over a four-drawer base. All forms of bidding will be available for Don Presley’s May 7-8, 2011 auction, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers or Proxibid.
For more information visit donpresleyauction.com/.