On the Auction Block: Rare Patek Philippe, Lincoln’s Checks, and a Diamond for $12 Million

Blair Pfander
On the Auction Block: Rare Patek Philippe, Lincoln’s Checks, and a Diamond for $12 Million
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Some people advise subtlety, but when you’re a high-roller shopper confronted with the sumptuousness of the upcoming April auctions, how can you be anything but over-the-top?
For example, a super-rare Patek Phillipe watch—which is rendered in pink gold and festooned in blue sapphires—is hitting Bonham’s this month and may be the most luxurious timepiece money can buy (with estimates ranging close to $650,000, it ought to be).
Of course, if watches don’t interest you, maybe a rare Imperial cigarette case (produced by the House of Fabergé for the royal Romanov family) will. And if you really feel like indulging yourself, nothing is quite so relaxing as gazing into a $12 million dollar diamond, like the massive pear-shaped rock hitting Sotheby’s auction block on April 17.

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Imperial Cigarette Case: Bad habits don't have to mean bad accessories. This bejeweled silver, diamond enamel cigarette case was produced by the House of Fabergé in the early 20th century, was and was presented to the royal family—so you can puff away like a real Romanov. Estimated $50,000 to $70,000; April 15 at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

Diamond and Sapphire Starfish: This summer appropriate 1945 starfish brooch is festooned in oval-cut pink tourmalines, circular-cut diamonds and is finished with a pear-shaped sapphire trim. Just try not to lose it at the beach. Estimated $30,000 to $50,000; April 16 at at Christies.  

Photo: Christies/Christies

Diane Arbus: A lot of rare Diane Arbus photographs hits Christie's online sale this week, including "Couples Eating, NYC," which shows a dapper gent and a lady sipping coffee in a New York diner. Estimated $7,000 to $9,000; April 11 at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Script: Film buffs will appreciate this super-rare manuscript for "Breakfast at Tiffany's," which is annotated throughout with notes and edits from Truman Capote. Minimum bid $10,000; April 18 at RR Auction.

Photo: RR Auction/RR Auction

Winston Churchill's Unpublished Poetry: He might not have been known for his poetry, but Churchill composed an entire manuscript of prose (which, sadly, was never published). But so much the better for rare book collectors: this yellowed tome is scrawled in Churchill's own hand. Estimated 15,000 to $20,0000; April 10 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

Fahrad Moshiri: Christie's upcoming auction of Iranian contemporary art includes this disturbing work by Farhad Moshiri, which depicts little boy in pajamas being kidnapped by a giant grey bear. $300,000 to $500,000; April 16 at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

Frantisek Drtikol, "V": A selection of surrealist works hit Sotheby's rare photography auction this month. This spooky geometric print—simply entitled "V"—depicts a nude silhouette holding large shaded hoops. Estimated $70,000 to $100,000, April 5 at Sothebys.

Photo: Sothebys/Sothebys


The Francis Crick "Secret of Life":
If you're looking for a truly unusual collector's item, you can't do much better than the "Secret to Life"—as in, the letter penned by Francis Crick outlining his revolutionary discovery of DNA. No estimate available; April 10, at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

Rare Hendrix: Arguably one of the most important records of the 1960's, a rare edition of Jimi Hendrix' "Bold as Love" album—which features a signature from the artist himself—hits RR Auction this week. Currently at $6,748; April 17 at RR Auction.

Lincoln in Transition: This rare snap of Abraham Lincoln—taken by Samuel Montague Fassett—shows the young politician before his presidency, shortly after losing an Illinois senate seat to Stephen Douglas. According to Sothebys, Mary Todd was especially keen on this handsome shot of the future Prez. Estimated $5,000 to $7,000; April 6 at Sothebys.

Photo: Sothebys/Sothebys


Lincoln's Check:
More good news for Lincoln buffs: this hand-written bank check, which was issued by the "desirable" Springfield Marine and Fire Insurance Company for $6.46 (which would be approximately $163 today), bears a signature from the President himself. Current bid at $5,576; April 17 at RR Auction

Photo: RR Auction/RR Auction

Hand-Engraved Erector Gun: This elegant old-fashioned musket features elaborate engravings on either side, including a pair of geese flying over the water, pheasants, and a hand-full of ducks. Estimated $15,000 to $23,000; April 3 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

Rare Platinum and Pink Gold Patek Phillippe: This super-luxe Patek Phillipe watch features a "semi-skeletonized" perpetual calendar with moon phases and leap year indication, and comes festooned in pink gold with a sapphire-inlaid display. Estimated $515,900 to $645,000; April 7 at Sothebys

Photo: Sothebys/Sothebys

Giant Pear Shaped Diamond: When it comes to collecting, why muss about in art or memorabilia when you can go straight for the real deal: diamonds. This massive unmounted pear-shaped rock has been deemed "potentially flawless," and with price estimates ranging up to $12 mill, we think it should be nothing less. Estimated $9,000,000 to $12,000,000; April 17 at Sothebys

Photo: Sothebys/Sothebys

Pablo Picasso, "Femme Assise": Seated women were a key motif in Picasso's work during the Spanish Civil War, and this dark, moody canvas—rendered in a palette of stark black, white, and grey—is a particularly mysterious example from that period. Estimated $1,000,000 to $1,500,000; April 11 at Christies.  

Photo: Christies/Christies

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