More than 200 royal jewels with links to Austria’s Hapsburg dynasty sold for $10.7 million at Sotheby’s on Tuesday, nearly double the expected intake.
The jewels — which all came from a single owner and were recently discovered in a bank vault — comprised “the most important and largest” collection of Viennese imperial and royal jewelry ever to go under the hammer, according to Sotheby’s. The Geneva sale, called Vienna 1900: An Imperial and Royal Collection, was their first time appearing at auction.
Sotheby’s sold all 207 items on offer. While the total presale estimate had been CHF 3 million to CHF 5 million ($3.3 million to $5.5 million), some 82% of the lots exceeded their upper price tags, with hundreds of bidders from Europe and North America taking part.
The highlight of the sale was a corsage ornament in a garland design with natural pearls and diamonds hanging down. The piece, which Archduchess Marie-Thérèse of Austria-Teschen received as a wedding gift in 1865, sold for nearly $1.2 million, more than twice its CHF 450,000 ($500,190) upper estimate.
“Vienna 1900 is a triumphal culmination of centuries of collecting by some of the most respected and legendary imperial and royal houses in Europe,” said Andres White Correal, deputy chairman and senior jewelry director at Sotheby’s. “At first sight, I knew that Vienna 1900 would join the pantheon of Sotheby’s historical sales.”
Here are some other highlights from the auction:
Main image: The pearl garland corsage ornament. (Sotheby’s)