This October, Christie’s South Kensington will be offering over 500 rings – dating from ancient Egypt and Rome through to cutting-edge 21st century designs – from the Collection of Jürgen Abeler, Wuppertal.

South Kensington, London – This October, Christie’s South Kensington will be offering over 500 rings – dating from ancient Egypt and Rome through to cutting-edge 21st century designs – from the Collection of Jürgen Abeler, Wuppertal. The majority, 103 lots including several groups, will feature within the Jewellery auction to be held on 9 October, whilst the Antiquities sale on 25 October will showcase over forty important ancient rings. The collection is sure to excite collectors of all ages, budgets and styles, with many wearable designs on offer and estimates starting from only £200. All items on offer from within the Collection of Jürgen Abeler will be on view from 5 to 8 October 2012 at Christie’s South Kensington saleroom on 85 Old Brompton Road.

Highlights from the collection include a 16th century signet ring of Johann Ernst von Sachsen, Julich, Kleve and Berg the great grandson of Sibylle von Julich, Kleve and Berg, sister of Anne of Kleve (Cleves) (1515-1554) wife of Henry VIII, King England(1491-1547) illustrated above left. Further highlights are mourning rings for Vice Admiral Nelson, killed at the Battle of Trafalgar illustrated above centre, and the composer George Frideric Handel illustrated above right. The sale will also include a selection of modern conceptual and design rings.

Jürgen Abeler (1933-2010)

Born in Wuppertal in 1933 into a family of watchmakers and goldsmiths Jürgen Abeler continued this tradition and was also an avid collector even as a small boy. Initially collecting cigarette cards, stamps, beermats and minerals, this was then extended to watches in 1958 with the opening of the Wuppertal Watch museum. This private museum formed part of the family jewellers and watchmakers, but would not be confined to precise boundaries and clearly demonstrated Jürgen Abeler’s passion for collecting, and eclectic tastes. There were also collections of crowns and insignia, menus, wine labels and, of course, rings; over 40,000 objects in total.

 Jürgen Abeler’s interest in rings stemmed from his grandmother’s Christmas present in 1955. The present was Heinz Battke’s recent book on the history of the rings, “Geschichte des Ringes in Beschreibung und Bildern”. Battke, primarily an artist, was also an enthusiastic collector of rings. Inspired by Heinz Battke, and later to acquire the author’s own collection, Jürgen Abeler would collect rings from myriad sources and locations – auctions, antique shops, private hands and foreign lands.  The result was a collection ranging from Roman and Egyptian examples to rings highlighting 21st century design. In Jürgen Abeler’s own words he wished to create “. . . a coherent, comprehensive overview about the whole topic up to (the) modern day.”

These rings were exhibited at the Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus Hanau from the 9th June to 21st September 2011 in the exhibition:  Sammlung Abeler, Wuppertal , Geschichte und Symbolik des Ringes aus vier Jahrtausenden – Vom Siegelring zum Liebesring.


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