• First of many future HQ sales to be held at John Moran Auctioneers Headquarters in Altadena, CA
• A 95% sell-through rate achieved
• Renewed online demand pits floor bidders against fierce competition
Altadena, CA - John Moran Auctioneers triumphantly concluded 2012 by starting something new for the Southern California house: a series of sales dubbed ‘’HQ Auctions’’ conducted at the company headquarters in Altadena, CA, rather than at their usual venue of the Pasadena Convention Center. Held on December 6th, the inaugural HQ sale focused exclusively on jewelry, timepieces and luxury accessories. Over 330 lots were offered to a large audience of floor bidders gathered at Moran’s home base, festively decorated for the season, as well as telephone and internet bidders connecting from around the world. Whether fueled by the more intimate atmosphere of the location, holiday cheer, or the quality of the merchandise gathered exclusively from private collections and estates, the sale achieved stellar prices and an aggregate sell-through rate of 95%. Part of this success was no doubt due to intense competition from the unusually large number of online bidders: more than 400 of them participated through live hosts Artfact.com and Liveauctioneers.com.
Diamond pieces took center stage at the HQ auction, the most outstanding of which was perhaps an antique rose-cut diamond necklace. Made circa 1830, and featuring 349 diamonds total, the dazzling ornament shot past pre-auction estimates of $20,000 to $30,000, selling to a telephone bidder for $54,000. Hailing from a private Pasadena estate and originally estimated to hammer between $25,000 and $35,000, an Edwardian twin diamond necklace set with a total 5.9 carats of diamonds was the object of intense competition, finally won for $33,000. A pair of diamond domed ear clips by famed jeweler Harry Winston, featuring 114 full-cut round diamonds, brought out the floor bidders and sold at $7800 (estimate: $4000 to $6000).
A number of highlights were whimsical items appealing to the lighthearted spirit of the season: jeweled insects and animals both real and imagined. The second lot in the auction, and one of the most flamboyant pieces, was an 18k gold bangle superbly modeled as a fierce dragon, set with cabochon jadeite. Made circa 1900 by the firm of Arthur & Bond of Yokohama, Japan, it fired up the crowd and easily exceeded its estimate of $1500 to $2000, bringing an impressive $5700. A ruby, emerald, and diamond turtle pendant / brooch stole more than a few hearts. Decidedly adorable, the turtle realized $1920, and went home with a floor bidder who outbid half a dozen would-be absentee buyers (estimate: $700 to $900). One of a number of Judith Leiber minaudieres, a crystal penguin-form handbag was also a crowd favorite, bringing $1470 (estimate: $1000 to $1500). The desirability of insect-themed pieces has been sticking firmly on-trend for an extended run. Flying to $1800 at the block was a pair of gemstone and diamond bee earrings with wings of carved garnets (estimate: $600 to $800), while a striking Egyptian-themed scarab bracelet, crafted in 18k gold and set with chalcedony and synthetic ruby, and estimated to bring $1500 to $2000, realized $2280. A Rosenthal gold wasp brooch, set with two opals and accented with a dozen full-cut diamonds, went for $510 (estimate: $400 to $600).
Continuing in the category of accessories, an Italian evening bag crafted nearly entirely of 18k gold and embellished with 19 full-cut round diamonds on the push piece found a buyer at $24,000 (estimate: $12,000 to $18,000). Realizing $1715, a group of six silk scarves by Hermes and Christian Dior went to a delighted absentee bidder who had fallen in love with them at the December 5th preview (estimate: $500 to $800).
• A Victorian turquoise and diamond hinged bangle, circa 1850, estimated to sell between $2000 and $2500, realized $2700.
• A Chinese medal denoting the Order of the Double Dragon found an online international buyer for well above the initially estimated at $2000 to $3000, bringing $9600.
• A skeletonized 18k gold and diamond inset watch by Swiss maker Vacheron Constantin realized a final price of $24,000 – above the estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
• Offered from a Boca Raton, FL collection, a diamond “Avenue C” wristwatch by Harry Winston found a new owner at $10,200 (estimate: $6000 to $8000).
John Moran Auctioneers’ next sale, slated for February 5th, 2013, will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center at 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101, and will feature 20th century design, including American Arts and Crafts furniture and midcentury modern design, silver, and quality Native American artifacts, including blankets and pottery. Previewing will begin at noon on the 5th, and the Catalogued Session will commence at 3:00 p.m. The uncatalogued Discovery Session will follow at approximately 6:30 p.m. Bidding for the Catalogued Session is available via telephone, absentee, in person, and online through Liveauctioneers, AuctionZip, and Artfact. Check www.JohnMoran.com for more information on upcoming auction dates and upcoming sale highlights.
John Moran is currently seeking quality consignments of jewelry, luxury accessories, antiques and fine art for all 2013 auctions. Please contact the John Moran offices directly, at (626) 793-1833, or by emailing