Lapiz Lazuli & Imperial Jade Snuff Bottles

Value (2014) | $50,400 Auction$60,400 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
These were my grandfather's. In the early part of last century he did a lot of traveling in Eastern Europe and in Asia, and I think he collect... had a whole collection of snuff bottles. And what I understood from my grandmother is he kind of bartered for them, so he had about 30 of them in a little case that was over the fireplace in their house.

APPRAISER:
Well, he had good taste. The one over near you is lapis lazuli. And it's 19th century and probably about 1850, 1860.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Nicely carved with birds and flowers. And a good piece of lapis lazuli, very, very well-hollowed. The value on that bottle is around $400.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
Good quality, nice work, but $400 on that one. This other bottle is another story completely. This other bottle was made by the Imperial workshops.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
For the empress.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
And one of the reasons why you can tell that is this bottle is also equally very well-hollowed out, and that's an enormous waste of what was a very, very precious material in order to hollow that bottle out.

GUEST:
Oh, I see, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Because this bottle is very, very thin. And it's also beautifully carved on the side with a Foo Dog mask and foliation that's typical of that Imperial workshop. The top is a tourmaline, the little white piece is a piece of Peking glass, and then there's another jadeite piece that's there on the top. But that is great, great color. Really like an emerald green color jade and uniform, not much mottling or anything like that. This jade bottle was probably made between about 1780 and 1820. What would you think that bottle is worth?

GUEST:
So I... I thought they're all worth a couple hundred dollars, that's...

APPRAISER:
This bottle's worth between $50,000 to $60,000.

GUEST:
(laughing) Oh, my God! Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
And $50,000 to $60,000, that would be an auction estimate and it could even go higher than that because these things are very desirable.

GUEST:
Wow. Wow.

APPRAISER:
Everybody wants a bottle like that in their collection. (laughs) So I think you picked the right bottle.

GUEST:
I did, I'm speechless. I had... I had no idea.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Tremont Auctions
Newton, MA
Appraised value (2014)
$50,400 Auction$60,400 Auction
Event
Albuquerque, NM (July 19, 2014)
Category
Asian Arts

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