Million-dollar jewelry, handbags up for auction at Christie’s – WWD

EVERYTHING THAT SHINES : Like rival Sotheby’s, Christie’s is still booming after recent record art sales. Hoping to maintain this high momentum, Christie’s is counting on high-priced accessories and jewelry to boost sales.

Wednesday’s ‘Magnificent Jewels’ sale will feature ‘The Light of Africa Diamond’, an emerald-cut diamond that weighs 103.49 carats. This coin has an estimate ranging from $11 million to $18 million.

The sale will also include notable jewelry from JAR that comes from philanthropist, publisher and estate socialite Ann Getty, who died in 2020, including a multigem and diamond leaf brooch with a nearly 12-carat cushion-cut emerald. The presale estimate is between $500,000 and $700,000.

Another key offering from the “Magnificent Jewels” sale will be a Van Cleef & Arpels coral and gold jewelry set that previously belonged to the late leading lady of New York, Brooke Astor. The VCA NY signed necklace and VCA signed earrings are expected to fetch between $30,000 and $50,000.

Wednesday will also mark the start of Christie’s ‘evening watch sales’. A Patek Philippe wristwatch in 18-karat rose gold with a cloisonné enamel dial depicting the shores of Lake Geneva and the vineyards of Lavaux is expected to cost between $1 million and $2 million.

There’s also an online sale going on for designer handbags that ends on Thursday. Called “The New York Edit,” the 194 pre-owned styles include dozens from Hermès, as well as options from Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. On Monday, a shiny 2016 Hermès Gris Tourtrelle Porosus Crocodile Kelly bag had a bid of $14,000. There are also a few miscellaneous items such as the Hermès 2021 Savannah bag charm which as of Monday afternoon had a current bid $300 to $100 below the estimated opening price.

Returning to New York last fall after working for a few years in Christie’s London office, Rachel Koffsky was named senior vice president of international handbags on June 1. also continue to work as an auctioneer.

One handbag that’s getting a lot of attention online is a 2021 Hermès custom matte pink alligator Birkin 25 handbag that had a bid of $120,000 as of Monday afternoon — double the high end of its estimate.

Another current standout is a matte white Himalayan crocodile flipped Kelly 25 with palladium hardware that had a bid of $120,000 as of Monday afternoon. This was approaching the estimated opening price of $150,000. “A very similar piece recently sold in Hong Kong for $450,000,” Koffsky said.

In her former role as Senior International Specialist, she has traveled to many different countries assisting handbag collectors with the care of their collections, curating collections and running auctions. She also worked as an auctioneer for the company’s handbag auctions in London. Christie’s has also reintroduced handbag sales in Paris and Milan. The April sale in Paris for the most collectible bags sold 100% of the 70 models, thanks to international participation. Citing a recent “phenomenal” sale in Hong Kong, Koffsky said expectations for New York were also high.

“The market is very strong for handbags. We are seeing very strong demand. The pandemic has changed the way many people have approached shopping and collecting. It really lowered a lot of barriers to entry, in terms of people feeling comfortable participating online and with the secondary market,” she said.

Additionally, supply chain issues and the closure of some factories have caused some customers to look to the aftermarket for options. Many are doing this for the first time in their lives. Resale interest is led by Gen Z, whose members are “very comfortable buying and selling in the secondary market,” Koffsky said. “It’s a feeling that’s [increasingly] shared by all generations.

Handbags are part of Christie’s luxury segment, which also includes watches, wine and jewelry. Although the jewelry department is a separate department, the handbag team works closely with its employees and there is a lot of crossover with buyers. “Often, customers come to see a diamond. And walking through the galleries, they will be taken by a Birkin or vice versa,” Koffsky said.

Christie’s expects a lot from its sale of handbags online.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Christie’s New York has more planned for this fall from the Ann & Gordon Getty collection. Through a series of auctions in October, nearly 1,500 decorative and fine art items from the couple’s San Francisco apartment will be on offer. “Entrance to the Grand Canal to the East” by Il Canaletto and “Chrysanthemums in a Vase from China (1902)” by Henri Matisse are expected to bring in around $6 million and $4 million, respectively. Proceeds from the sale, which will benefit the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts, are expected to reach up to $180 million, according to the auction house.


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