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Asian Collectors Spend Millions on Treasured Memorabilia

Press Release   •   Nov 30, 2017 12:35 GMT

Two Chinese seals of soapstone in tianhuang style, amber coloured, cut with landscape, poems and lotus leaves with a frog and insects. Qing, 19th century. H. 6.5 and 7 cm. Hammer price: DKK 1.1 million (€ 190,000 including buyer’s premium).

The sale of two small soapstone seals, measuring just 6 and 7 cm in height, went through the roof at the Asian auction in Copenhagen Wednesday afternoon. The price reached DKK 1.1 million (€ 190,000 including buyer’s premium) before the hammer fell, which was more than a hundred times the valuation price of DKK 10,000.

"We saw a clear interest in especially carved soapstone and jade figures at Wednesday’s Asian auction," says Ralph Lexner, Head of the department for Asian art. "Besides the two small soapstone seals, a large number of carved jades were among the overachievers at the auction. We are of course delighted by these results, and we can also see that most of the figures found their way back to their countries of origin in Asia."

The two small soapstone seals come from the English Colonel Norie's Asian Art Collection. Norie acquired the collection while he was stationed in China during the Boxer Rebellion around 1900. It is Norie's Danish grandchild who has sold the collection at auction, and she can be pleased with the sale of the collection’s 29 lots, which achieved a total hammer price of more than DKK 5.3 million (€ 925,000 including buyer’s premium) against a valuation of DKK 871,000. This great result for the collection was also due to a hammer price of DKK 1,020,000 (€ 180,000 including buyer’s premium) for a Chinese Qianlong vase from the collection.

The auction’s highest hammer price was DKK 1,800,000 (€ 315,000 including buyer's premium) for a Chinese Buddha figure. Besides the carved figures, there was great interest in bronzes, fine porcelain objects and thangkas. The Asian auction sold lots for a total of DKK 13,111,000 (€ 2,300,000 including buyer’s premium) against an overall estimate of DKK 5,422,000.

Asian Auction Top 3

1) A Chinese gilt bronze figure of Buddha Shakyamuni, Kangxi 1662-1722. Weight 5920 gr. H. 27 cm. Provenance: Acquired in 1939 in Shanghai by a captain sailing for the East Asiatic Company. Estimate: DKK 75,000. Hammer price: DKK 1.8 million (€ 315,000 including buyer's premium)

2) Two Chinese seals of soapstone in tianhuang style, amber coloured, cut with landscape, poems and lotus leaves with a frog and insects. Qing, 19th century. H. 6.5 and 7 cm. Placed in a small showcase. Provenance: Colonel Evelyn Williams Medows Norie. Estimate: DKK 10,000-20,000. Hammer price: DKK 1.1 million (€ 190,000 including buyer’s premium)

3) A Chinese porcelain vase, sides with dragon heads holding ring handles in relief, decorated in underglaze blue with bands of flowers, foliage, tendrils and waves. Marked Qianlong, but 19th century. H. 25 cm. Provenance: Colonel Evelyn Williams Medows Norie. Estimate: DKK 30,000. Hammer price: DKK 1.02 million (€ 180,000 including buyer’s premium)


Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are put up for auction each year at the traditional auctions and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.