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The most interesting items on auction at Christie’s first Luxury Week in London

Christie’s Luxury Week has been an important fixture in the luxury auction’s house calendar since its inception in 2012. What started as a four-day extravaganza in New York is now a biannual auction series showcasing the finest jewellery, watches, wine and 20th-century design from the auction house.

In fact, following its success in Geneva and New York, the series debuted in London this year, and took place from 6 to 13 June. Christie’s Luxury Week is currently ongoing in New York till 23 June, with highlights like prominent items from David and Peggy Rockefeller’s personal collection (such as a Raymond Yard engagement ring once worn by Peggy) and private collections focused on the greatest wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Here, we revisit the rarest and most unique items that were put up for auction in London — and how much they fetched.

1996 Hermès Retourné Kelly

NASA logo hand-painted by Tom Sachs in 2009.

A trend in a handbag auction market is one-of-a-kind pieces customised by contemporary artists, such as this 1996 Hermès Retourné Kelly 35, a wearable piece of art featuring a NASA logo hand-painted by Tom Sachs in 2009.

Sachs is known for his sculptures exploring design and consumerism, an intersection he explores in various materials. In 2007, he embarked on one of his most well-known projects, Space Program, which explores his obsession with NASA and space travel. He translates this onto the 1996 Gold Kelly, was previously privately commissioned to be sold at a charity auction in 2009. The bag was sold at Christie’s for £40,000 (S$71,569).

Belle Epoque diamond tiara (circa 1905) 

Of course, Christie’s is known for its high-calibre jewellery sales. The London Luxury Week this year saw three important tiaras on auction, with the most interesting one being the Belle Epoque diamond tiara belonging to the crown princess of Yugoslavia, crafted circa 1905 for Louise Françoise Marie Laure d’Orléans, Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Infanta of Spain.

It then changed hands to two further princesses, Maria de la Esperanza, Princess of the Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Maria da Glória d’Orléans-Braganza, Duchess of Segorbe, Countess of Rivadavia and Crown Princess of Yugoslavia. The latter offered the tiara at auction in 1982, and it has been with the same owner ever since.

Until now, that is. The platinum headpiece, which features old pear-shaped and rose-cut diamonds, was sold for S$618,150 at the auction in London.

Balvenie 1970 

Balvenie 1970.

If there’s a bottle of whiskey to add to your collection, it’s the Balvenie 1970, which is an old release from the Balvenie Vintage Cask series of whiskies. Distilled on 28 September 1970, the whiskey was matured for 30 years before being bottled on 31 July 2001 from a single cask. Only 310 bottles were produced.

The spirit, which was distilled before famed head blender David Stewart helmed the distillery in 1974, was sold for £1,920 (S$3,435).

Sullivans Cove American Oak Single Cask 

One of the rarest whiskies in the world.

Yet another bottle that went up for auction is one of the rarest single malt whiskies in the world, the Sullivans Cove American Oak Single Cask, which was awarded the “World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt” title at the 2018 Whiskies Awards.

The bottle that was put up for auction was bottle number 88, one of the last remaining bottles in the world. Additionally, it also has never left the famed distillery in Cambridge, Tasmania. The bottle was sold during Luxury Week for £6,600 (S$11,840).

Dewi Nurjuwita
Senior Writer
Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.