Watches in the Movies

Thirty years ago, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The art of film making in the early 1990s meant that story telling ranked far higher above the constant worry that film makers these days have that a prop might have been out of place, or even worse out of period.

My first experience of this was very early on in life (clearly, I was destined to be picky). It was after watching the fantastic film Backbeat about Liverpool’s finest export during the early Hamburg days. Now whilst the script may have embellished a few historical truths, what was clearly incorrect was some of the equipment used by The Beatles during the film – and if I at 12 years old could tell that some of the microphones were from the 1980s, well I am pretty sure that some other people could too, but – these were those halcyon days before the internet – where once ignorance was bliss, now there would be threads appearing and probable apologies by the directors.

So, in 2023, details count more than ever, and in recent years there has been a concerted effort to make sure that nobody can pick up on the little things that the average movie goer would never actually pick up on, but somebody would notice…. probably on the internet.

In the recent Oppenheimer film, we saw what can only be described visual love affair between Christopher Nolan and Hamilton watches, all historically accurate pieces for the film and when worn in chronological order by (the soon to be Oscar winning) Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon. Nolan is a particular chap, and in this case, it has worked incredibly well – at the point of writing this, he has been rumoured to be talking with the Broccoli family – and I for one would love to see what he does with the Bond watch, especially after the last 20 years of pretty much the same Omega Seamaster.

Going back a little bit, let’s look at a few watches that got it totally 100% right before the time of internet forums and continuity enthusiasts….

First of all, if any watch defines the understated magnificence of a military piece, it’s the classic that is the Porsche Design Orfina Chronograph. As timeless as Tom Cruise’s face appears to be, it was one of the stars of the 1986 film Top Gun, and again was used in the visually incredible 2022 Maverick incarnation. As a true aerophile and pilot, Cruise will have made sure that the PVD coated watch was totally correct, and it was – and still looks amazing to this day.

Panerai are one of those brands that you love or cannot stand… and for those of you that have met me, you will know that I have a small collection of the oversized military based watches, that do get worn regularly – as far as utility watches go, they don’t get much simpler. Daylight was one of the first major times that one of the watches appeared on the silver screen with no less than Sylvester Stallone appearing alongside the PAM5218-201/A as pretty much co-stars in the film.

Panerai up until 1993 had not actually been available to the public, so this outing was really one of the first times the brand had been given major exposure, and subsequently went on to be a mainstay of the oversized watch world.

What is clear, as has been indicated by such modern films as Oppenheimer, and even the Barbie film (check out Ryan Gosling’s TAG Heuer collection) is that the watch world care about details, and because of that, film makers are paying more attention….

The Rebirth of the Icons

There are many designer handbags which have stood the test of time and remain iconic, bags like the Chanel Classic and the Hermès Birkin. But this year has seen a rise in handbags being sourced from the archives, from the Gucci Horsebit design through to Prada’s re-issue nylon collection and unsurprisingly that’s driving up interest in the vintage originals.

We already know that over the last few years there has been a substantial rise in demand for preowned designer handbags. Brands such as Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton make exceptional prices on the resale market with consumers paying a premium for a second-hand handbag. However, this year, with some retailers reissuing designs from the archives it has prompted a resurgence in some classic vintage styles. This has had a positive impact on what they achieve on the resell market. Here are our most popular designs for 2023, you may want to check the back of your wardrobe!

GUCCI

The Gucci Horsebit

This year Gucci has reissued Tom Ford’s 2003/2004 Horsebit clutch. The new designs feature the Italian fashion house’s signature hardware, and an updated chain. It comes in an array of colours and prints, including Gucci’s classic monogram design and iconic stripe. 20 years ago, this design was hugely popular for Gucci and this reissue has prompted an increase in the resell value for the original early noughties models. Here are some of the new designs issued by Gucci:

The Gucci Horsebit 1955 in Crocodile retails on Gucci’s website for £21,970.

HERMÈS

The Kelly

We can’t discuss popular handbags without mentioning Hermès. The Kelly was first popularised by Grace Kelly, and appeals to both investors and buyers alike.

Here is a vintage Kelly selling for £9,562.50 at Bonhams in 2021:

Hermès accessories are a real investment and will always stand the test of time. Their limited availability only adds to their desirability, and it is always worth hunting for that special piece.

Below is a charm selling at auction for between £4,000 – £6,000:

he Birkin

The Birkin is always in huge demand, with limited availability and exceptional craftsmanship, they remain, as ever, elegant and recognisable. They make real collector’s items.

Named after Jane Birkin, this example is her original black Togo Birkin 35 selling at auction for £119,000 in 2021.


FENDI

The Fendi Baguette handbag

There’s a huge appetite for Fendi at the moment, specifically for the Baguette, with sales of the style booming.

Thanks to the Y2K trend, the Fendi Baguette has proved popular this season. Channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw with a sequinned version.

DIOR

Dior Saddle Bag

Dior’s Saddle Bag first made an appearance in Dior’s 1999 spring/summer ready-to-wear show. It is thought to have been inspired by a 1976 Helmut Newton photograph entitled ‘Saddle I, Paris’. However, this theory has never been verified by Dior.

Here is the Saddle Bag selling at auction for €2,040:

Lady Dior

The iconic Lady Dior packs a lot of history. It was first created in 1995 and named after Diana, Princess of Wales. It was originally gifted to her by Bernadette Chirac, the First Lady of France at the time. During the most recent season of ‘The Crown’ the Lady Dior started to gain a lot of attention on social media.

In 2022 Dior launched what they described as “the (re)brith of an icon”, the Lady 95.22.

An example of a Lady Dior selling at auction for £7,650:

PRADA

First released in 1984, Prada’s Nylon Bags are just as desirable as they were 40 years ago. The revival has been so popular, that last year’s Prada’s Re-Nylon Re-Edition 2000 mini bag was named as Lyst’s ‘Handbag of the Year’. It’s reported that web searches increased by 131 per cent, with views for #pradanylonbag generating over 4.2 million views.

Proof that practicality and luxury can go hand-in-hand!

Discovering Sotheby’s Auction

Vienna 1900: An Imperial and Royal collection

On the 6th and 7th November, Sotheby’s Geneva will be auctioning some of the finest antique jewellery from the 1900s, described as Belle Epoque jewellery. This collection is unique in that it groups prestigious gems, such as emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and natural pearls, but also in that these pieces have been kept intact all this time. It is becoming increasingly rare to find pieces from over a century ago. Jewels are very often broken up and stripped of their gems and metal. It is, in my opinion, a great shame, as the craftmanship of that period was stunning and very refined.

Belle époque jewels are characterised by bows, ribbons, swags and flowers, and items mounted en tremblant. Meaning to tremble, en tremblant diamond-set flowerheads (for the most part) are attached to a thin metal wire spring which trembles with movement. This gives the illusion of life and allows light to reverberate into the diamonds, bouncing off and reflecting “fire”, all the colours of the rainbows. It is often found on tiaras, brooches or devant de corsage such as lot 1089 of the sale.

Gifted by Philipp, Duke of Württemberg (1838-1917) as a wedding gift to his bride Archduchess Marie Therese of Austria – Teschen, Duchess of Württemberg (1845 –1927 in 1865, it is composed of natural saltwater pearls and approximately 60 – 75 carats of diamonds. It comes with an estimate of CHF270,000 – 450,000 (approximately £245,000 – 410,000).

Selling with the same estimate is a natural pearl and diamond brooch, circa 1865.

It is set with a first button-shaped pearl, measuring approximately 14mm and suspends a larger drop, measuring approximately 19mm. They are highlighted by approximately ten carats of diamonds.

This piece and its estimate are an indication of exceptional provenance but also reinforce the importance of having certificates for unique gems. These two pearls have reports from the reputable laboratory SSEF in Switzerland. When looking to insure or sell, reports will be a key part of valuing an item correctly.

In the example of the above brooch, if the pearls were not natural, its value would be mainly in the diamonds. It is their natural origin that give it a hefty price tag.

What do we call natural pearl?

Natural, as opposed to cultured pearls, are created in the wild, without human intervention. Cultured pearls are grown in farms and commonly are bead nucleated. This means a nacre has been formed around a nucleus as way for the pearl of defending itself. The pearls are then collected anywhere from six months to 3 years depending on the type and environment in which they are grown.

To illustrate further the uniqueness of the pearl and diamond brooch sold by Sotheby’s (above), the retailer Hancocks, who deals with antique jewellery, currently sells a natural pearl and diamond brooch for £22,500 (below). The pearl measures approximately 11mm and there are close to five carats of diamonds.

There are a variety of jewellery for women of course in this sale but also for men. Beautiful emerald cufflinks for example are also for sale.

The above cufflinks are centrally colletset with rose-cut diamonds within a navette-shaped emerald terminal. They belonged to the Tsar of Bulgaria and have an estimate of CHF3,600 – 5,500 (approximately £3,200 – 5,000).

Cufflinks and medals were worn with uniforms for balls, together with neck badges such as the below.

This beautiful gem-set neck badge has an estimate of CHF36,000 – 55,000 (approximately £32,000 – 50,000) and is adorned with a Ceylon sapphire, accompanied by an SSEF report stating it has no indication of heat treatment.

In this instance again, a report is essential and its findings are reflected in the estimate. Heat treatment is often used in sapphires to deepen a stone’s colour and, although a common practise, can detract from a gem’s value. The key factors of quality of this sapphire, together with provenance and other gems in the piece makes it a stunning piece.

This collection embodies the late 19th century, early 20th century era of court, wars and balls with delicate attires and military uniforms. Waltzes and lavish court dinners with men and women draped with the most exceptional jewellery, reflected who they were in society, and if judging by the quality of these pieces, it is no surprise they could have been considered semi-Gods.

On a personal note, I wish great success for this sale in association with Duke Philipp of Württemberg, who I had the extreme pleasure of working with at Sotheby’s.

The World of Wristwatches where do we go now?

Whilst we all knew that the market for luxury watches could not continue after the booming nature of 2020-2022, scalping was rife, and speculators were buying up watches as business assets and in turn driving up the price of average watches such as Rolex Submariners, Datejusts and GMTs.

Let’s not be coy though, the vast majority of Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Phillipe watches will still be a long way from being a ‘spur of the moment decision’ – one cannot simply pop in to one of these brands boutiques and expect to walk out with a shiny box. There has been good news, however for those wanting to purchase one of these ‘grail watches’ in that the availability that is reducing those prices is actually meaning more clients are finally getting those watches that they have been waiting for. The most up to date figures are showing that 1.6 million Swiss watches are being exported every month this year so far, which is a huge number compared to even six months ago.

89 of Rolex’s current models, or pretty much 80% of their catalogue still trade at above retail price meaning that anyone is still insured for the figures that they either bought for, or worse what they think they could buy a replacement for.

Patek Phillipe has always been a strange entity in this area as a significant amount of their watches have never actually had a strong performance on the secondary market – the complications models for example have never had the huge presence that the Nautilus, or Aquanaut did, and for the most part still have. That being so Patek Phillipe still have 43 watches sitting above retail, which represents 48% of the total models they currently sell, which if anything is a bigger indicator than the Rolex figures. Audemars Piguet were, and still are to many collectors the ‘definitive’ boom watch, and despite the recent value changes have 34 watches above retail, coming in at a whopping 71% – again let’s not forget that AP still sell some stunning dress watches, that despite complications and amazing craftmanship – drop like a stone on the secondary market.

From these figures, it is clear that the market still desires certain models, and the availability of them (or lack thereof) has given the market such a huge boost over the last few years, that it’s still going to be difficult to purchase these watches from retailers for quite a while yet, and as we all know outside of the handbag market (see my other articles) the luxury watch market can dictate who buys their wares, when they buy them, and where they are purchased.

So, what happens now? For the last three years the market has been allowed to release watches that instantly have sold out, or instantly on back order – which to be honest in some situations, have not been the most inspired of choices, with very slight variations on a theme – but instantly worth at least a 25% uplift on the retail price, just because of the desire to own anything by a specific brand.

Whilst nobody can predict the future, I would say that more watches will be sold as a result of the drop in prices, and more customers will be happy to spend the kind of money that one might seem more reasonable for a luxury watch – without the premiums that we have been used to, and even become accepting of.

What we have seen in the last few months is a great array of further interesting models, not least the latest ‘disruptive’ model from Swatch X Blancpain.

When the model was mooted, and then launched, I for one was flabbergasted that a serious heritage brand like Blancpain would even consider such a collaboration – especially after the recent MoonSwatch, but after much consideration, and in fact purchasing one of them I can see where the sense comes from – it has raised the profile of the brand and where many people had not even known Blancpain (including the majority of purchasers) now they can legitimately long for one of their normal range, with some experience of the marque.

What other collaborations will arrive – we can only imagine, but I am fairly sure Swatch can’t be the only player in this game for too long, and other brands will be looking at this fairly exclusive market contemplating the six figure sales that could ensue…..

RM Sotheby’s Nigel Mansell’s legacy collection auction

A Review by Stephanie Connell

In Britain we have a long association with motor racing, dating back over 120 years. Since those early days, memorabilia connected with motorsport has been a popular area for collectors. Motor racing collectables combine the glamour of the automobile with the excitement of high-octane sport. Today, Formula One memorabilia is perhaps the most desirable field in automobilia collecting.

When RM Sotheby’s announced they would be selling the archive of legendary racing driver Nigel Mansell, collectors were prepared for prices to ‘hurtle’ away.

Nigel Mansell began his career as a Formula One driver in 1980 and continued to race in F1 until 1995. During this period, Mansell won over 30 Grand Prix races and was the 1992 Formula One World Champion. These achievements made him the most successful British racing driver (a record only broken by Sir Lewis Hamilton).

Mansell’s skill as a racing driver went beyond Formula One. Immediately after his 1992 Formula One World Title win, he moved to CART IndyCar for their 1993 the season. Remarkably he won his debut IndyCar World Series. Therefore in 1993 he held both the Formula One World Title and the IndyCar World Series – Mansell is the only driver to have held both titles at the same time.

Nigel Mansell’s extensive collection had previously been on display as part of his museum in Jersey, which closed in 2019.

The collection included over 320 pieces capturing Mansell’s entire career. The sale was held during the early part of October as a week-long online auction, with all lots being offered without reserve.

Prior to the auction RM Sotheby’s had focused publicity on the trophies, racing suits and racing helmets. These pieces, which are the closest associated with racing are typically the most desirable.

Demand was high throughout the sale. The highest prices of the sale were indeed achieved for racing helmets. Lot 142 the 1985 Canon Williams-Honda European Grand Prix racing helmet being the most expensive lot. The European Grand Prix was held at the British racing circuit Brands Hatch in October 1985. The action-packed race saw Nigel Mansell winning his first Grand Prix, beating Ayrton Senna in second place by a margin of over 21 seconds. The important racing helmet which is clearly visible in images for the race sold for £68,400.

The second highest price was achieved by Lot 200 the 1992 Canon Williams-Renault Arai Formula One helmet. This example was worn by Nigel Mansell during his record-breaking World Title winning season for Williams, it reached £61,200. 1992

Like the helmet, pieces connected to the 1992 Formula One title were expectedly the most valuable.

The sale included several significant trophies earned during this F1 World Title winning season for Williams.

The 1992 San Marino Grand Prix 1st place trophy was the most expensive of the collection. The trophy marked Mansell’s fifth win of that competition, making him the first driver to win the first five races of a season. The Automobile Club Bologna trophy was engraved with the names of other former prominent winners including Jim Clark, Niki Lauder, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna. The impressive and large gilt trophy sold for £28,800.

One of the most coveted of the trophies was in fact for a second-place finish. Lot 212 was the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix 2nd place trophy. The race is known as a classic of the sport, with Mansell starting the race from pole position, battling for first place against the eventual race winner Ayrton Senna. This lot eventually sold for £24,000. Nigel Mansell’s pole position trophy from the same event, was also on offer and achieved £16,800.

One of Nigel Mansell’s most remarkable achievements of the 1992 season was the British Grand Prix. Held at Silverstone in July, it was here that he became the most successful British racing driver. Mansell started the race from pole position, going on to win every lap, set the fastest lap and break the track record!

Lot 386 was the trophy awarded for this fantastic first-place finish – bidding was strong, with the virtual gavel falling at £26,400. Lot 223 was a piece commemorating the race – an unusual time-chart captioned “The Ultimate Lap”. To quote Mansell himself “On the last but one lap we smashed the track record”. This piece had been signed and dedicate to Mansell by Williams Racing’s Chief Technical Officer, Paddy Lowe. The final price here was £8,400. While lot 208 the baseball cap worn by Nigel Mansell on the winner’s podium sold for £6,800.

Similarly, the highest price racing suits of the sale were those worn during Nigel Mansell’s 1992 winning season. Lot 199 and 222 were two such examples. Lot 199 was the more complete of the outfits including suit, gloves, and boots. This lot achieved £21,600 whilst lot 222 which included a suit alone sold for £19,200.

Ferrari memorabilia is a strong collecting field within its own right. Therefore, those pieces relating to Mansell’s 1989-1990 seasons driving for Ferrari were of interest. Notably, Mansell was the last racing driver to be selected by Enzo Ferrari himself.

Racing helmets were again the top lots here. Lots 174 and 182 were Scuderia Ferrari helmets worn during the 1989 racing season. They fetched £43,200 and £46,800 respectively. Lot 350 was a trophy awarded to Nigel Mansell by Ferrari. The sculptural trophy was in the form of their iconic prancing horse logo. This award fetched £28,800. A vintage red leather Ferrari briefcase was a stylish addition (lot 103) reaching £3,720. Mansell had a difficult 1990 season with the team and chose to retire afterwards. It was after his return with Williams in 1991 that he achieved his greatest success.

During 1993 to 1994 he moved away from Formula One. Mansell signed with Newman/ Haas to drive in the CART IndyCar World series. As mentioned previously, he was immediately very successful, winning his first ever IndyCar race! He went on to win the World Series, winning five races out of sixteen. Helmets, suits, and trophies were again the most valuable lots, with four of the helmets achieving over £25,000 each. One of the more curious lots was lot 250 a podium wreath decorated with beer cans given as part of the 1993 IndyCar Miller Genuine Draft 200 race. This lot sold for £3,000.

Now to some of the more unusual lots. Lot 106 was a personalised number plate ‘5 NM’. The plate made reference to Nigel Mansell’s initials and his association with red number 5 during his career. Red Number 5 was the name given to his winning Williams Formula 1 racing car. The number plate offered with a presale estimate of £30,000 – 60,000 and sold for £50,400.

On a similar theme was lot 205 a petrol pump designed with Nigel Mansell livery and the red number 5, commemorating his 1992 World Title win. This decorative piece of automabilia sold for £15,600.

Champagne is a drink closely associated with motorsport and several bottles were available. The highest price for a bottle was lot 198, an unopened magnum of Moet & Chandon given to the 1991 British Grand Prix ‘Driver of the Day’. The label was signed in silver ink by several celebrities apparently including Sean Connery. This impressive bottle fetched £3,240.

Also of note were two letters from Prime Minister John Major offered together as lot 202. The typed letters congratulate Nigel Mansell on his wins in Formula One and IndyCar. They were each signed and inscribed ‘Dear Nigel’ and on Downing Street headed paper. The pair eventually achieved £6,900.

The successful auction achieved total selling price of over £2 million.

Formula One collectors will now be looking ahead to the RM Sotheby’s auction scheduled for early November. This sale will include the collection of the late racing driver and two-time World Champion Graham Hill.

John Constable and the Stour Valley

I can’t think of a painter who was as influenced by, or devoted to recording the landscape of his boyhood, as John Constable R.A. (1776-1837). He is famously recorded as saying: “Still I should paint my own places best; painting is with me but another word for feeling, and I associate ‘my careless boyhood’ with all that lies on the banks of the Stour; those scenes made me a painter, and I am grateful.”

He was born in East Bergholt in Suffolk and the villages of the Stour Valley were the subjects of his early work. However, as Michael Rosenthal points out in his excellent book ‘Constable, the painter and his landscape’ published in 1983, it was not all plain sailing. Despite the familiarity and love of the place, there were emotional associations that precluded Constable painting certain aspects of his childhood landscape. For instance, he was incapable of painting land owned by his father, Golding, a successful farmer, mill owner and grain merchant, until Golding came to terms with is son’s desire to become a painter. Golding wanted him to join and then run the family business, as John’s elder brother had learning difficulties. By 1799, Golding had relented to some extent, granted his son a small allowance and John then entered the Royal Academy Schools.

In 1808 Golding gave him a small grain store in East Bergholt to convert into a studio, now owned by my friend, Susan Morris. She’s the only one of my friends who has a fridge magnet of her house! Father and son were truly reconciled.

In 1816 he married Maria Bicknell, whom he had known since 1809. Their love was a source of great comfort to Constable, but the union was not approved of by Maria’s grandfather, Dr Rhudde, rector of East Bergholt, who threatened to disinherit her. He thought the Constables were socially inferior. However, Golding and Ann Constable died in quick succession and John inherited one fifth of the family business, which eased the financial pressure.

Now with several children to support, he embarked on an ambitious plan to enhance his reputation by producing large canvases for exhibition in both London and Paris. He returned to his beloved Stour Valley for these and produced a series of ‘six footers’ (the size of the canvas), of which the most famous is ‘The Hay Wain’.

It was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1824, where it caused a sensation, because of its vibrant technique and colour and its truth to nature. It was awarded a gold medal by Charles X. Delacroix repainted the background of his ‘Massacre de Scio’, as a result of seeing it.

By the early 1820s, Maria was showing signs of tuberculosis and Constable took lodgings in Brighton for her health. He made numerous drawings of the South Downs and Coast, and produced a marvellous oil painting of the ‘Chain Pier, Brighton’, which was exhibited in 1827. Sadly, the sea air did not save Maria and after the birth of their seventh child, Maria died in November 1828. Constable was distraught. He wrote to his brother, also called Golding, ‘hourly do I feel the loss of my departed angel…the face of the world is totally changed for me’.

The period following Maria’s death was a profoundly melancholic one for Constable. He dressed in black and was prone to anxiety. I always think that Hadleigh Castle sums up Constable’s state of mind at this time. A lonely figure and his dog stand beside the ruined castle, whilst a storm approaches from the sea, with just two shafts of light to suggest some source of hope. The palette is subdued but the brushwork vigorous, the product of a troubled mind.

On a less sombre note, there is a charming story that Constable relates to his friend Archdeacon Fisher of Salisbury. He was travelling in the 1820s in a carriage from Ipswich to London with two strangers. By way of making conversation, he pointed out of the window and remarked “Don’t you think this is a beautiful landscape?” One of the strangers said “yes I do, Sir, but you should remember this is Constable country.”

Sir Roger Moore

The Personal Collection – Auction Review

For the art world, autumn brings a new season of exciting and ‘must view’ auctions. Last week Bonhams, London held one of the most electrifying – ‘Sir Roger Moore – The Personal Collection’.

Sir Roger Moore (1927 – 2017), was one of the most recognisable and treasured actors of his generation. He was widely adored by fans for his appearances as James Bond, as well as Simon Templar in The Saint and Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! to name a few.

The James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ (1983) starring Sir Roger Moore captures a fictional auction, with competitive bidding in a crowded saleroom (on that occasion for a “Faberge egg”). This scene could almost have been replicated on the sale day at Bonhams busy New Bond Street galleries.

The ‘white glove’ sale included over 220 lots, which took over nine hours to sell. The collection, which was being offered on behalf of the late star’s family, unsurprisingly garnered widespread presale interest from the media, enthusiasts, and collectors alike.

Much of the sale focused on Sir Roger Moore’s acting career, with scripts, awards and costumes all going under the hammer. Many lots related directly to James Bond, which is one of the strongest areas in film memorabilia collecting. Fittingly, this year marks 50 years since the actor’s first appearance in the role. Sir Roger was enormously influential as a taste maker in gentlemen’s fashion. Therefore, clothing, accessories and timepieces were some of the lots ‘to watch’. Antiques and art from the stars collection indicated his taste as a collector.

Early in the auction, various desk accessories, pens and stationery were offered produced by the likes of Montblanc, Cartier, and Gucci. Lot 3 was one such lot, an ‘RM’ monogrammed Gucci address and notebook – despite the original pages having been replaced with facsimiles (and the numbers having been removed) it offered a glimpse into Sir Roger’s showbusiness circle, including details for figures such as Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Kirk Douglas, HRH Princess Margaret, Paul McCartney, and Sidney Poitier. Estimated at £1,000 – 1,500 it achieved £6,400 (inc BP). Perhaps more surprising was the price achieved for Lot 6 a Morocco leather monogrammed stationery rack. The lot which included Sir Roger Moore letterheaded notepaper was estimated at £80 – 120. The final total sales price was £8,960 ( inc BP).

Sir Roger was an avid backgammon player and as James Bond notably competed on screen against villain Kamal Khan in a key scene of the movie Octopussy. The market for backgammon is currently particularly strong – the buzz during the viewing indicated the two lots of cased backgammon sets (Lot 10 and Lot 11) would far exceed their estimates.

Lot 10 was a personalised set embossed with the actor’s name. The footnote for the lot credited this example as having been used on the set of James Bond by Sir Roger to play against producer ‘Cubby’ Broccoli. The pre-sale estimate of £300 – 500 indicated the value of the set rather than the interesting provenance, it eventually sold for £15,360 (inc. B.P). The second of the sets Lot 11 was a more modest travelling willow basket example, estimated at £100 – 150, despite the estimate it fetched £10,880 (inc. BP).

In the world of James Bond poster collecting, examples printed in Australia are amongst the most affordable. However, for those included in such a collection this trend, would be tested. Four of the Lots (36, 42, 64 and 164) were Australian daybill posters for the films The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For You Eyes Only and A View To A Kill. Having each been signed by Sir Roger, they were offered with the same estimate of £500 – 700 each, a combined total presale low estimate of £2,000. Their eventual combined total was £46,720 inc BP. Having achieved individually £8,960; £10,240; £14,080 and £13,440 inc BP.

The James Bond franchise provided many modern-day collectors with their first glimpse into the world of luxury watches. Therefore, some of the most sought pieces in the collection were James Bond related watches. The highest price of the entire auction was achieved by Lot 92 a cased presentation set of twenty 007 watches produced by Swatch. Manufactured in 2002 to celebrate the James Bond film anniversary these sets typically fetch at auction between £4,000 – 6,000. This example however had been personally dedicated to Mr. Roger Moore. It had been estimated at £10,000 – 15,000 and sold for £76,660 (inc. BP).

Omega is a brand with a strong connection with James Bond. Lot 158 was an Omega Seamaster bracelet watch, produced in 2012 as a Limited Edition to celebrate ’50 Years of 007’. The clasp bore the inscription ‘To Roger love from Michael and Barbara’, which although not mentioned in the catalogue, may have indicated that the piece was a gift from Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Sold with the accompany box, card and instructions it achieved £57,550 (inc BP, estimate £20,000 – 30,000). The following item Lot 159 was also an Omega wristwatch this time a Speedmaster Automatic MK40 triple calendar chronograph, inscribed ‘Roger Moore’ and dated November 1996. It was offered with presentation box and original warranty – despite an estimate of £5,000 – 7,000 it sold for a total of £61,360.

Sir Roger Moore was known particularly for his impeccable sartorial choices. For the style aficionados the auction included many of his suits, jackets, ties, and cufflinks. Highlights from the sale had even been previewed on Saville Row, with Gieves & Hawkes. Sir Roger had a close association with the designer and tailor Doug Hayward and several pieces designed by him went under the hammer. Foremost amongst them was Lot 170, a double-breasted dinner suit made for Sir Roger’s role in A View To A Kill and worn at the Royal premiere of the film in 1985. The fully labelled costume, the ultimate in James Bond style, sold within estimate at £25,600 (estimate £20,000 – 30,000). To compliment this outfit Lot 178 estimated at £400 – 600 was two black silk bow ties, including one by Turnbull & Asser. They sold for £6,144 (inc BP).

Lot 80 was a collection of twelve ties including five designed by Hayward, with others by Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. The collection sold for a little over a thousand pounds each, with a selling price of £12,160 (estimate £400 – 600).

Roger Moore was well-known for his association with skiing, emphasised by his stunning downhill scenes featured in the James Bond films. However, many of these snowbound acrobatics were performed by a stunt double. According to an interview given by his son Geoffrey Moore prior to the auction, Roger Moore’s film contract did not allow him to ski. In fact, Sir Roger apparently did not take up skiing until preparing for filming of A View To A Kill in 1985. Afterwards Sir Roger was passionate about the sport.

One of the most desirable pieces in the auction was Lot 166 a white ski suit by Bogner purchased for, and identical to that, worn by Sir Roger in the pre-title sequence of A View To A Kill. Such instantly recognisable film costume is rare on the open market. It was sold within the estimate of £15,000 – 25,000, with the total sales price £28,160.

Towards the latter portion of the sale six lots of personally owned skis were included. The top Lot here was 219 a pair of Kästle skis bearing Roger Moore’s printed signature, offered together with a pair of Interport poles. Against an estimate of £800 – 1,200 they sold for £4,864 (inc. BP).

Amongst the awards the ‘star’ lot was saved until last. Lot 224 being the presentation plaque given to Sir Roger Moore to commemorate the placement of his Star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame. His ‘Star’ was unveiled three days prior to his 80th birthday on the 11th of October 2007. The commemorative piece was estimated at £10,000 – 15,000 and was offered almost 9.5 hours after the sale had commenced at almost 10:30pm. The final lot was eventually sold to a room bidder for a hammer price of £19,000 (£24,430 inc BP).

The final sale total reached just over £1.1 million against a pre-sale high estimate of around £415,000.

Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly is an Internationally renowned American glass artist known for his innovative and intricate glass sculptures and installations. He was born on September 20, 1941, in Tacoma, Washington, USA. Chihuly’s early life played a significant role in shaping his career as an artist, here are some key points.

Family Background

Dale Chihuly was raised in a middle-class family in Tacoma, Washington. His father worked as a meatpacker and union organiser, while his mother was a homemaker.

Early Interest in Art

Chihuly developed an early interest in art and began working with glass in the early 1960s while studying interior design at the University of Washington in Seattle. During this time, he had the opportunity to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice, Italy, which ignited his passion for glassblowing.

Education

After completing his undergraduate studies, Chihuly pursued a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Founding Pilchuck Glass School

In 1971, Chihuly co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. This school played a crucial role in the development of the American studio glass movement, providing a space for artists to experiment and collaborate with glass as a medium.

Artistic Influences

Chihuly was influenced by various artistic movements and styles, including the Murano Italian glassblowing tradition, Native American art, and the Studio Glass Movement. His work often combines traditional glassblowing techniques with contemporary artistic concepts.

Career Development

Dale Chihuly’s early career was spent in experimentation and innovation in glass art, which resulted in the production of his best-known series of glass sculptures, including the iconic Macchia and Persian series.

International Recognition

Over the years, Chihuly’s work has gained international acclaim, and he has become one of the world’s best known and most prominent glass artists. Here are just six of his most famous and widely recognised works and projects.

Chihuly’s body of work extends far beyond these few examples, and his contributions to the world of glass art are extensive and influential.

Here are some lesser-known facts about Dale Chihuly:

Early Interest in Interior Design:

Before becoming a renowned glass artist, Chihuly initially pursued a degree in interior design at the University of Washington. His interest in design played a role in his creative approach to glass art and sculpture.

Inspiration from Indigenous Art:

Chihuly has drawn inspiration from indigenous art and cultures around the world. In particular, he has been influenced by Native American art, and some of his works incorporate elements reminiscent of Native American basketry and design.

Innovation in Glassblowing:

Chihuly is known for his innovative techniques in glassblowing. He introduced the concept of the “team approach” to glassblowing, where he works closely with a team of skilled artisans who help bring his intricate and large-scale designs to life.

Blind in One Eye:

In 1976, Chihuly was involved in a car accident in which he lost vision in one eye after being struck by a metal rod. Despite this life changing injury for any artist working in any medium, he continued to create glass art and adapted his techniques to accommodate his visual impairment.

Collections in Unusual Places:

Chihuly’s work can be found in some unexpected places. In addition to galleries and museums and private homes his glass sculptures have been displayed in unique locations such as botanical gardens, casinos, and even underwater. For example, his glass installations have been featured in underwater settings like aquariums and also Venice during his “Chihuly Over Venice” in 1996, see 5 on previous page.

After looking at some of the images of Dale’s huge installations and projects you would be forgiven for thinking that owning a piece is only possible for the elite collector with deep pockets and lots of space! Happily, Dale makes some beautiful table size and smaller single pieces that all use the exact same wonderfully uplifting ‘hot’ colours and flowing shapes. The first Exhibition of Dale’s work I saw was at the Halcyon Gallery London in January 2108. I remember being blown away by the vibrancy of his colours and the sheer energy and scale of the larger pieces and the gem like qualities of the smaller works which were all beautifully displayed in elegant glass display cases.

Chihuly’s works come up at auction fairly regularly and also appear on the art selling sites, Artsy and 1st Dibs, I have made a small selection of auction sales with prices and estimates as a guide and some currently available pieces for sale on these two main selling sites, which I hope will further wet your appetite for works by the master of glass, Dale Chihuly.

Nephrite

Nephrite can be found in three major locations: northwestern China, Siberia and British Columbia, though China has been said to provide to best quality nephrite, such as the “mutton fat”.

The mines in British Columbia formed in the Mesozoic, 251.9 to 66.0 million years ago, when Pangea started to separate and dinosaurs walked the planet.

Nephrite, along with jadeite, is often referred to as jade. It comes in an array of colours and can be translucent to opaque.

Although nephrite comes in various colours, it is usually less pronounced than in jadeite. What else differentiates jadeite from nephrite? Their chemical composition to start with. This would be difficult to identify when out shopping for a jade necklace, but jadeite’s composition is: NaAlSi2O6 and nephrite’s is Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2.

The deposits location is also different. Jadeite is only found in Myanmar as opposed to nephrite, which ranges across the borders.

Nephrite is harder than jadeite, making it a good candidate for sculptures.

Nephrite rates 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was created by Friedrich Mohs in 1822 and determines the scratch resistance of minerals when scratched by another mineral.

The Mohs scale is used to manufacture everyday objects: your mobile phone’s screen glass is made of a material that scratches at level 6, some at level 7.

Compared to jadeite, if nephrite chips, it will have a more waxy texture to it and could leave a powdery residue.

Though it may scratch, it is nonetheless a hard gemstone, made up of minuscule interlocking minerals which form a larger one, this is called a metamorphic gem. It was in fact hard enough for when man first made tools.

Due to its relative hardness and arrays of colours in which it comes, it is very sought after. However, jadeite is more valuable than nephrite, but the latter remains a great contender for jewellery pieces and for being carved and polished.

This autumn (2023) Sotheby’s HK is offering for sale the below fire opal, icy jadeite and diamond brooch with an estimate of HKD40,000-50,000 (approximately £4,000-5,000).

Nephrite comes in all shapes and forms. The above is set with two cabochon nephrite. A common and traditional piece of jewellery is the hololith bangle, made out of one piece of stone.

“Bi”, a flat disc with hole in the middle and representing heaven, is also made of one piece of stone.

They can be fashioned into any shape or form, it’s no wonder why they are one of Hollywood’s favourite go to pieces for a chic and understated statement.

Actress Emilia Clarke wore these exquisite earrings to the Emmys, and though they are most likely to be jadeite jade rather than nephrite, there are some affordable pieces retailing with similar spark.

Such as these teardrop earrings selling for £300.

Or this beaded necklace, retailing for £2,500.

If money is not an issue, then perhaps, its counterpart in jadeite jade could be an option, as with the opposing jadeite jade necklace, which sold with Sotheby’s in 2020, for USD 10.4 million.

Perhaps this is the price to pay for a little bit of heaven, as Confucius described jade, and who wouldn’t want that?