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The Joe Grimberg Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles
Sotheby's
September 14, 2010
Sale 8702

Enamelled porcelain reclining lady

Lot 22, Enamelled porcelain reclining lady, attributed to Jingdezhen, 3 3/8 inches long
By Carter B. Horsley

The Joe Grimberg Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles auction at Sotheby's September 14,2010 has 189 outstanding small vials in a variety of materials and designs. Some of the designs are abstract.  Some are figurative.  Others are lustrous and just marvelous.  

The sale totalled $4,931,626 including buyer's premiums with 157 lots selling.

Henry Howard-Sneyd, Sotheby's Vice Chairman, Asian Art, declared afterwards that "The success of the Joe Grimberg Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles is a testament to the discerning  taste of Mr. Grimberg.  Collectors from around the world responded well to this refined and focused collection made up of the finest examples of snuff bottles in a range of different  materials from enamels and glass to hardstones and jade."


In an August 2010 interview that is included in the catalogue, Mr. Grimberg said that he started collecting stamps and that hardstones are his favority group of snuff bottles because they are so tactile and invite the touch.  He told Sotheby's that he put a limit of 200 on the number of items in his collection "because a large number would diffuse one's affections and I would never have the space to display them."

Exhibition Banner with detail of Lot 88

Exhibition poster at Sotheby's with detail of Lot 88, an enamel on copper European- Subject snuff bottle, Qianlong mark and period, 1736-1795, Imperial, attributed to the Palace workshops, Beijing

Lot 88, the cover illustration of the catalogue, is an enamel on copper European-subject snuff bottle, Qianlong mark and period, 136-1795, Imperial, attributed to the Palace workshops in Beijing.  It is 2 inches high and has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It sold for $662,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.  

Enamel on yellow glass snuff bottle

Lot 10, Enamel on yellow glass snuff bottle, Qianlong mark and period, 1736-1795, Imperial, attributed to the Palace workshops, Beijing, 1 3/4 inches high

Lot 10 is a lovely enamel on yellow glass snuff bottle, Qianlong mark and period, 1736-1795, Imperial, attributed to the Palace workshops in Beijing  It is 1 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.  It sold for $314,500.

Lot 22, shown at the top of this article, is a charming enamelled  porcelain reclining lady snuff bottle, 1795-1820.  It is attributed to Jingdezhen.  It is 3 3/8 inches long and has an estimate of $60,000 to  $90,000.  It sold for $60,000.

Japanese cinnabar lacquer on bronze snuff bottle

Lot 4, Japanese cinnabar lacquer on bronze snuff bottle, 1800-1900, 2 3/4 inches high

Lot 4 is a very fine Japanese cinnabar lacquer on bronze snuff bottle, 1800-1900.  It is 2 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.  It sold for $20,000.


Realgar-splashed dark amber glass snuff bottle

Lot 12, a Realgar-splashed dark amber glass snuff bottle, 1730-1800, Imperial, attributed to the Palace workshops, Beijing, 2 1/4 inches high

Lot 12 is very modern-looking abstract snuff bottle that is known as a Realgar-splashed dark amber glass snuff bottle, 1730-1800, Imperial, attributed to the Palace workshops, Beijing.  It is 2 1/4 inches high and has an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000.  It passed.  The catalogue entry notes that "the color of the body, although revealed to be amber under strong light, is black in appearance, making this one of the most dramatic bottles of this "splashed" type.

Fossilferous limestone snuff bottle

Lot 157, Fossilferous limestone snuff bottle, 1750-1860, 1 7/8 inches high

Lot 157 is a fossilferous limestone snuff bottle from 1750-1860.  It is 1 7/8 inches high and has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.  It sold for $6,250.

Rare triple overlay glass snuff bottle

Lot 106, rare triple overlay glass snuff bottle, Shende Tang seal mark,1833-1850, attributed to Yangzhou, 2 3/4 inches high

Lot 106, "rare" triple overlay glass snuff bottle, Shende Tang seal mark, 1833-1850, attributed to Yangzhou.  It is 2 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $50,000 to $80,000.  It sold for $146,500.


Important red overlay glass snuff bottle

Lot 109, "Important" red overlay glass snuff bottle, 1819, Li Junting Schooll, attributed to Yangzhou, 2  3/8 inches high

Lot 109 is a fine "Important" red overlay glass snuff bottle, 1819, Li Junting School, attributed to Yangzhou.  It is 2 3/8 inches high and has an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.  It sold for $34,375.

Red overlay on green glass snuff bottle

Lot 111, red overlay on green glass snuff bottle, 1750-1850, 2 5/8 inches high

Lot 111 is a very fine red overlay on green glass snuff bottle from 1750-1850.  It is 2 5/8 inches high and has an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000.  It passed.

Three-color overlay glass snuff bottle

Lot 110, Three-color overlay glass snuff bottle, 1750-1820, 2 1/2 inches high

Lot 110 is a lovely three-color overlay glass snuff bottle from 1750-1820.  It is 2 1/2 inches high and has an estimate of %15,000 to $25,000.  It passed.  

Rare inside-painted crystal double snuff bottle

Lot 135, "rare" inside-painted crystal double snuff bottle by Ma Shaoxuan, dated to Autumn of the Dingyou Year, corresponding to 1897, 1 7/8 inches high

Lot 135 is an interesting and "rare" inside-painted crystal double snuff bottle by Ma Shaoxuan, 1897.  It is 1 7/8 inches high and has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $18,750. One other bottle of this type is known and is illustrated in Bob C. Stevens book, "The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles," 1976.

Pair of inside-painted glass snuff bottles with portraits of Queen Mary and King George V by Ma Shaoxuan

Lot 142, pair of inside-painted glass snuff bottles with portraits of Queen Mary and King George V by Ma Shaoxuan, 1911, 2 3/8 inches high

Another example of Ma Shaoxuan's inside-painting is Lot 142, a pair of glass snuff bottles with portraits of Queen Mary and King George V.  The lot was made in 1911 and is 2 3/8 inches high.  It has an estimate of $60,000 to $90,000.  It passed.

Hair crystal snuff bottle, 1740-1880

Lot 158, hair crystal snuff bottle, 1750-1860, 2 3/4 inches high

Lot 158 is a wonderfully abstract "hair crystal" snuff bottle from 1750-1860.  It is 2 3/4 inches high and has a modest estimate of $5,000 to $8,000.  It sold for $6,875.


Rare bronze snuff bottle with watch and barometer mounts

Lot 105, Rare bronze snuff bottle with watch and barometer mounts, circa 1890, 3 inches high

Lot 105 is a "rare" bronze snuff bottle with watch and  barometer mounts, circa 1890.  It is 3 inches high and has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It passed.


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