Rare Chinese Carved Rhino Horns Sale Makes Auction Records
A pair of very rare 19th century Chinese carved rhinoceros horns has sold for a record $797,300 Auckland-based auction house Webb’s – 454 per cent above the estimate of $125,000 – $150,000.
The room watched on in amazement as two keen bidders fought gallantly to secure the horns, leaving behind three other contenders at the $500,000 mark.
The price achieved for the horns was the highest price for an antique sold at auction in New Zealand and one of the highest prices achieved for antique carved rhinoceros horns globally.
According to Webb’s, “global demand is extremely high for carved rhinoceros horns and scarcity has driven prices to unsurpassed levels over the last decade.”
“The strength of the market today is also linked to the immense rarity of these objects: it is believed that there are no more than 3000 to 4000 extant carved horns worldwide.”
Presented on intricately carved lotus openwork stands, the two horns are decorated with intricately carved imagery that represents the auspicious Chinese symbols of beauty, perseverance, healing and longevity.
Adding to the desirability of the horns was the fact that they were formerly in the collection of distinguished High Court Judge and noted anthropologist Sir John Budd Phear.