Auctions: Cloudy blues of the Near East

Click to follow
IT IS Islamic week, Sotheby's and Christie's biannual competition to shift the most brilliant Persian and Ottoman ceramics, metalwork, miniatures, jewellery and carpets. There is a shortage of the brightly coloured Iznik pottery, whose prices boomed in 1990-91, then fell. Those who paid through the nose will not re-consign until better times - assuming they can afford to hang on.

Quality Iznik still commands top prices: the most important early piece in private hands, a candlestick of 1480 in the cloudy blue and white characteristic of the 20 years before the Turks learnt to fire blue as deep as the Chinese, is estimated pounds 250,000, potentially a record price. It is sold by order of the Trustee Savings Bank, presumably to clear the overdraft of a recession victim.

Next week's Iznik bargains are in the middle range, down in price by up to half since peak. An early 17th-century plate with a blue and green bird typical of the birds and beasts which then began to replace floral designs, is est pounds 2,000-pounds 3,000 (lot 101) at Sotheby's Thursday (10.30am) sale of Islamic and Indian art. It could make pounds 4,000. The same sale has an 18th-century gilt-wood painted ceiling from Damascus, est pounds 35,000-pounds 40,000.

Sotheby's also has, on Wednesday, European and Oriental rugs, carpets and textiles (10.30am), Oriental manuscripts and miniatures (2.30pm). On Thursday, the day of Sotheby's main sale, Islamic and Indian art in the pounds 500-pounds 800 range (to be sold in Colonnade Sale, 6 May) will be on view in the basement. Christie's has Islamic art and Indian miniatures, Tuesday (10.30am), rugs and carpets, Thursday (2.30pm). At Christie's South Kensington: Oriental and Islamic costume and textiles, Tuesday (2pm).


Tumbaga bars - ingots made from looted and melted-down Inca gold, silver and copper objects - are at Christie's Wednesday (10am), after spending the years since 1560 on the seabed off the Bahamas in the remains of an overladen Spanish galleon. Tumbaga are estimated from pounds 200 in a sale of treasure from several Spanish wrecks.

A private collection of Greek vases is at Christie's Wednesday (2.30pm): ests from around pounds 6,000. Antiquities at Bonhams Thursday (2pm): a large collection of third-century Ptolemaic and Roman coins is est pounds 50-pounds 70.


Rait, near Perth: Contents of Fingask Castle, including arms and armour, jewellery, miniatures, paintings. Monday-Wednesday (10.30am daily). Christie's (041 332 8134).

Loughton: Jewellery, silver, plate, Thursday (11am). Furniture and artworks, Friday (11am). Ambrose (081-502 3951).

Exeter: Collectors' vehicles and automobilia, Thursday (12 noon). Husseys (0392 425481).

Boscombe: Art and antiques from a Dorset residence and stock of an antiques shop; includes collection of Oriental ivory carvings est pounds 200-pounds 300 each, Wednesday and Thursday (10am daily). Michael Stainer, St Andrews Hall (0202 309999).

Birmingham: Mixed liquidation stocks of waterproof clothing, contents of a heel bar, office furniture, computers, Monday (11am). Stevens, Champion and Slater (021 643 1942).

Salisbury: Carpets, including Kashan, Kazak, Caucasian rugs, Tabriz and antique furniture, Thursday (10am). Woolley & Wallis (0722 411422).

Trowbridge: Two-day sale of office equipment Tuesday, and catering goods, a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, Wednesday (10am daily). Commercial Auction Centre, Canal Road Industrial Estate. Avonbeat International (0225 776643).

Ossett: Ladies' clothing, computers, home entertainment equipment, games, cosmetics, Monday (10am). Charles Harrison & Son (0924 279005).

Bletchingley: Antique and reproduction furniture, carpets, Dinky toys, porcelain, glass, silver, jewellery, pictures, Tuesday-Thursday (10am daily). Lawrence's (0883 743323).


Friday-Monday: Isle of Man Art and Sculpture (0223 242946).

Next Saturday-Monday: East Berkshire Antiques, Maidenhead (0548 531356). Mammoth Fair, Donington Park, Leicestershire (Four in One Promotions; 0455 233495).

Countrywide by Antiques Trade Gazette (071-930 4957) and Government Auction News (071-734 8291, hotline 0891 887700).

Look out for. . .

Crnabrook: Contents of a Halstead estate with furniture, pictures, pistols and coins at Vestry Hall, Monday (1pm). Wealden Auction Galleries (0580 714522)

Looking for credit card or current account deals? Search here