RESULTS: Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence Sale Achieves $109,271,875. The Highest Total For Any Auction Of Indian Art And Mughal Jeweled Objects
Registered bidders from 45 countries | 5 continents
New York – Following the success of the global tour, specially designed New York exhibition, and a marathon twelve-hour auction, Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence achieved $109,271,875 (£87,138,656 / EUR 97,508,159 / HK$ 851,519,141), 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. The sale was presented in partnership between Christie’s market-leading Jewelry department and World Art department along with the independent art advisory firm The Fine Art Group.
Over the course of the sale, three world auction records were set for Indian works of art. 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.
The attendance for the global tours in London, Shanghai, Geneva, and Hong Kong, combined with the New York exhibition welcomed 50,000 visitors with tremendous attention over the five-day public exhibition in New York, averaging 1,500 visitors per day. 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. The virtual gallery tour can be viewed here.
Since the collection announcement, there have been 2.6 million unique visitors to Christies.com with over 17 million page views. Online traffic to Christie’s Online Magazine during this time spanned 1.8 million page views across the various web features and 3.6 million views for the 41 unique videos created for the collection.
Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer of Christie’s: “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.”
Philip Hoffman, Founder and CEO, The Fine Art Group, remarks: "I am honored that The Fine Art Group were able to play a part in this record breaking sale of Indian and Mughal Jewelry. The success of Maharajas and Mughal Magnificence is testament to the hard work of the Christie's team, led by François Curiel, Rahul Kadakia and William Robinson."
Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Jewelry at Christie’s, comments, “Beginning with the sale announcement in April, there has been an overwhelming response to this exceptional collection with momentum building from the international tour to the New York exhibition culminating with the excitement witnessed in the saleroom. Today we witnessed a record total for the world’s greatest collection of Indian jewels and jeweled objects to ever be brought to auction. The impressive prices realized for the jewels ranging from early Mughal pieces to the significant designs by Cartier through to contemporary pieces by Bhagat and JAR illustrate the sophisticated buying tastes of our clients.”
William Robinson, International Head of World Art, Christie’s, notes, “This incredible collection traced the history of Mughal jewels and objects to present day. From exceptional daggers worn by the elite Nobles and Royal families of India to important jewels inspired by Indian tradition and architecture, the auction of this notable collection represented a significant cultural moment for Indian and Islamic art. We are delighted with the strong results witnessed across the category with records set for an Indian jade, dagger, sword, and huqqa, which showcase the global appetite for masterpiece-quality works.”
These objects were offered from The Al Thani Collection. From next year, works of art from this encyclopedic collection, which includes over 6,000 objects, will be shown at a new museum space in Paris. In addition to new acquisitions, sale proceeds will support ongoing initiatives of The Al Thani Collection Foundation which extend from exhibitions, publications and lectures to sponsorships of projects at museums around the world.
Notable results and records can be found in the following pages. Full results can be viewed here.
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in 2019 that totalled £4.5 billion / $5.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.