Up for auction…sold! A quick and easy feat, one might think. But selling 550 jewels, 270 watches and 90 Hermes bags in less than 72 hours is not within reach for a first-time auctioneer. One should have at least seven years experience in valuing an object, handling the hammer and keeping the bidders in mind, both in the room and behind computer screens. “I’m also a big fan of football. Auctions are also a bit like sports.” François Tajan, Deputy Chairman of Artcurial, has been part of the French house for seven long years. Seven years of managing auctions for watches or vintage cars, jewelry or luxury bags. Two last objects attracted the attention of potential buyers gathered in the Belle Epoque room of the Hermitage Hotel. The last day of the twelfth edition of Artcurial’s summer sessions was marked by the sale of an 18,2 carat ring by Leysen, decorated with an oval sapphire, for the price of 220,000 euros. A piece originally from Burma, which left its origin after two auctions, and brought jewelry sales to a level of nearly 6.3 million euros.
“People come sometimes from far away. I have a Chinese customer who comes specifically to buy on her behalf and that of her collector clients from Hong Kong and Beijing,” – announced art curial François Tajan with a big smile. – “Monaco is formidably associated with the idea of luxury. To say that we will sell a jewel in Monaco, it is a serious discussion for a seller to decide to entrust us with his jewel. Here, we meet a lot of international customers who don’t frequent our Parisian auctions.”
“We have a wide offer ranging from antique jewellery to totally contemporary jewellery, passing through the nineteenth century, Art-deco period, and the fifties and sixties,” – explained Julie Valade, director of the jewellery department.
On the watch side, among the 270 pieces presented, were some treasures, such as an erotic pocket watch from the late 18th century, or a collection that belonged to Arman, the sculptor from Nice.
“It’s a very heterogeneous collection, which Arman wore a lot. He took great advantage of the pieces—he loved them—he worked with them, he carved with them. They have been part of his life,” said Marie Sanna, director of the watch division.
Several bags from French luxury design specialist, Hermes, were sold, including a Grace Kelly bag worth 104,000 euros. A unique piece offered to Princess Stephanie.
Contrast and balance
The three-day session yielded the same result as the one in 2016, with a turnover of around 10 million euros thanks to 1,300 registered participants. In addition to jewelry and leather goods from Hermes, which recorded a slight increase in sales, watchmaking balanced things out.
“We counted one hundred fewer watches because it is the qualitative aspect that predetermines the presence of this or that part in our catalog,” justified François Tajan. For those who missed the auction, don’t panic: the next items under François Tajan’s hammer will be up for auction in January 2018 at the Yacht Club of Monaco for the third edition of the winter sessions.
Total: €9.46 Million
The three days of sales led by François Tajan, on 17, 18 and 19 July, totalled 9,460,050 euros. 68% of the 917 auction lots changed hands, with 1,300 bidders registered by phone, on the Internet and in the Belle Epoque room of the Hermitage Hotel. Eleven lots were auctioned off for more than 100,000 euros. 83% of buyers were of foreign nationality.