Christie's achieves $109,271,875 for Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence
June 21, 2019: Following the success of the global tour, specially designed New York exhibition, and a marathon twelve-hour auction, Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence achieved $109,271,875, with 93% sold by lot and 92% sold by value, establishing the highest total for any auction of Indian art and Mughal objects, and the second highest auction total for a private jewelry collection. Sale registrants came from 45 countries across five continents and there was extensive participation across all sale channels with notable institutional bidding. Over the course of the sale, three world auction records were set for Indian works of art and 29 lots achieved over $1 million.
The top lot of the sale was A Belle Époque Devant-de-corsage, by Cartier, Paris, 1912, which sold for $10,603,500 to a private collector in the room. Additional top lots included The Mirror of Paradise, 52.58 carats, D Color, IF, which achieved $6,517,500; The Shah Jahan Dagger which sold for $3,375,000, establishing the record price for an Indian jade object and record for a piece with Shah Jahan provenance; An Antique Imperial Spinel, Pearl and Emerald Necklace, which realized $3,015,000; and the Golconda Diamond Rivière Necklace, from the collection of the Nizams of Hyderabad, which sold for $2,415,000. Other notable results included important signed pieces by Cartier, including A Spinel, Natural Pearl, Diamond and Emerald Bead ‘Imperial Moghul Necklace’ and Earrings, that sold for $1,935,000.
Contemporary pieces by JAR and Bhagat were also 100% sold, greatly exceeding estimates. Impressive prices were achieved for bejeweled Mughal objects including An Enameled and Gem Set Model of a Parrot, which realized $1,035,000; and an Enameled and Gem Set Huqqa, that achieved $759,000, establishing the world auction record for an Indian huqqa. Drawing key inspirations from the Maharaja of Indore and his palace Manik Bagh (‘Palace of Rubies’), the bespoke New York exhibition evoked the artistic dialogue of the East and the West with the incorporation of Jalis, latticed screens, dreamlike floral installations including an orchid canopy, juxtaposed with art deco influences, featuring luxurious marquetry, brass light fixtures, and lacquer-paneled cases, paying homage to architectural notes found from Indore to Rockefeller Center.
Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer of Christie’s, said, “We are very honored to have been entrusted with this magnificent and diverse selection of jewels, art and objects from the larger Al Thani Collection. The strong results today, after twelve hours of non-stop bidding, in front of a packed room and with phone and online bidders from all over the world, reflect the exceptional quality of this special collection and position it among the most storied private collections ever featured at auction.”
The Al Thani are the ruling family of Qatar.