The 18th century Chinese enameled glass snuff bottle that Bonhams offered earlier today in Hong Kong may be tiny. Its price was not. The bottle from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) set a new world record price of $3,328,400. That was over five times its pre-sale estimate, and more than double the previous record, set at Bonhams last year, of $1.19m.
Bidders in a packed room, and on the telephone competed avidly for the item. Not quite palm size, it’s nonetheless the largest snuff bottle of all recorded Imperial Palace enamels on glass, and features European-style trompe l’oeil frames around its four panels. Bonhams offered the bottle as part of the Mary and George Bloch Collection; Part IV. Earlier auctions of the collections were a sellout, with every bottle selling, and world records broken in 11 different categories.