FrontRunners: Diamonds in the Trough

  • The Editors

The stakes of most matches would have to be doubled many times over before they equaled the value of the Charles Hollander Backgammon Set (www.charleshollandercollection.com) shown here. Made from nearly 15 pounds of yellow gold, 5.3 ounces of silver, and 64,082 white, black, and yellow diamonds, the set has a gem weight greater than 2,070 carats and a price of $1.5 million. It is the most expensive piece in Hollander’s collection, which also includes a $1 million, diamond-encrusted chess set and gem-covered golf and soccer balls. As the presidential primary season approaches, Sotheby’s in New York will auction an item that might be relevant to the campaign’s eventual winner: an original copy of the Magna Carta (www.sothebys.com). The 13th-century English document codified the idea that no one, not even a king, is above the law. Fewer than 20 copies survive. Sotheby’s has assigned a presale value of $20 million to $30 million to the document, which will go on the block the week of December 10. At another sale in New York that week, on December 11, Sotheby’s may receive a record-setting bid for an eagle-shaped gold medal that was owned by George Washington and then, following his death, the Marquis de Lafayette. The medal conferred membership in the Society of Cincinnati, a group that celebrated the Revolutionary War. Sotheby’s expects it to fetch as much as $10 million, the largest sum ever paid for a medal.

Photo by Richard P. Goodbody Inc.
The antiquities dealer Les Enluminures will offer a large collection of biblical manuscripts…
The sale will feature architectural treasures salvaged from around the world…
Sotheby's
Standout items include a set of Wang Qi panel paintings expected to fetch as much as $700,000...
Illustration by Bruce Morser
Santiago Barberi Gonzalez travels the world in search of compelling art and design...
The show will showcase works from Peter Paul Rubens, Gortzius Geldorp, and more…
Photo by Michiel Elsevier Stokmans
The top lot could fetch as much as $450,000…
Bloomsbury Auctions
With a drumbeat of 50th anniversaries, Beatlemania breaks loose all over again...
timothy c. fabrizio and george f. paul
After more than a century, gramophones, phonographs, and cylinder players are prized as...
The show will exhibit exceptional offerings from 72 dealers and galleries…