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Ivory Virgin Joins $6.85 Million Coffee Pot in Art Sales

An early 14th century French ivory triptych featuring scenes from the Death of the Virgin, being sold from the collection of the late Gustav Rau, a German philanthropist, who donates works to benefit UNICEF. It will be offered by Sotheby's in an auction of sculpture in London on July 2. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg
An early 14th century French ivory triptych featuring scenes from the Death of the Virgin, being sold from the collection of the late Gustav Rau, a German philanthropist, who donates works to benefit UNICEF. It will be offered by Sotheby's in an auction of sculpture in London on July 2. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Europe’s marathon 2013 season of high-end international art-market events ends this week in London with Old Masters and historic works of art.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s International hold auctions estimated to raise a combined 90.1 million pounds ($137 million). In addition, more than 50 dealers are participating in London Art Week. Here are some pieces that might tempt buyers:

A French ivory triptych, showing scenes from the death of the Virgin, dating from the early 14th century.

The work is identified by dealers as one of the outstanding medieval works of art offered at auction in recent years. It is valued at 2.5 million pounds to 3.5 million pounds in Sotheby’s European sculpture sale today. The piece is from the collection of the late Gustav Rau, a German philanthropist, who gave works to benefit Unicef. It hasn’t appeared at auction since 1971.

An 18th-century coffee pot, estimated to set a record auction price for English silver when it is offered by Christie’s on July 4.

Made by Paul de Lamerie in 1738, the elaborately decorated pot has been estimated at 3.5 million pounds to 4.5 million pounds ($6.85 million). The market for antique silver has been boosted by Asian buying. A Queen Anne-period wine cooler sold for a record 2.5 million pounds to a Chinese bidder at Sotheby’s London in 2010.

A J.M.W. Turner watercolor, “Dawn: a Plein Air Study, Farnley, 1824.”

The work is being offered for sale by the Mayfair-based dealer Lowell Libson in London Art Week, which ends July 5. Painted in his 40s, when Turner was staying with his patron Walter Fawkes in northern England, the drawing is fresh to the market from a private collection. The price is 320,000 pounds.

A 17th-century Jan Steen painting of the artist eating oysters, not seen on the market for 250 years.

It’s the most highly valued work in Christie’s evening Old Masters auction tonight with an estimate of 7 million pounds to 10 million pounds -- a record price bracket for the Dutch artist. The scene, titled “Easy Come, Easy Go,” is dated 1660.

New-to-the-market paintings from historic collections are prized by Old Master buyers. This canvas has spent the last 200 years at Lowther Castle, the U.K. home of the Earls of Lonsdale. Christie’s auction is estimated to raise between 29.5 million pounds and 44.6 million pounds.

A view of Avignon by the 18th-century French painter Claude-Joseph Vernet.

This only known painting of the artist’s home town hasn’t been seen at auction for more than two centuries. Dated 1757, it has been kept in a U.K. private collection since 1954. It is valued at 3 million pounds to 5 million pounds in a Sotheby’s sale tomorrow evening that’s estimated to raise between 23.7 million pounds and 37.2 million pounds.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Warwick Thompson on London theater, Jeffrey Burke on books and James Russell on architecture.

To contact the writer on the story: Scott Reyburn in London at sreyburn@hotmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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