Top Auction Highlights of 2019: Art and Collectibles

In this article we’re exploring all the art that made headlines in 2019 besides paintings - antique furniture, jewelry, musical instruments, sculptures, cars and more.

Feb 9, 2020By Kaylee Randall

There are a variety of Art and Collectibles sold by art auction houses every year that go beyond traditional paintings. In Part 1 of this series, we explore the top-selling paintings from ArtCurial, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s from 2019.

Now, we’re exploring all the other art that made headlines last year – antique furniture, jewelry, musical instruments, sculptures, cars and more.

Top Sculptures of 2019

First we have Rabbit by the American artist Jeff Koons which is a polished, stainless steel rabbit that’s just over three feet high. The auction started at $40 million with Rabbit ultimately reaching $91,075,000 which broke the record for all of Christie’s auctions in 2019 and the record for a sale by any living artist.

Rabbit, Jeff Koons, 1986

Sold for $91,075,000 at Christie’s

Rabbit, Jeff Koons, 1986
Rabbit, Jeff Koons, 1986

Also at Christie’s, a Roman marble statue of the Emperor Hadrian sold for $5,950,000.

At a Sotheby’s auction, Claude Lalanne broke his own record with a sculpture called Choupatte (tres grande) when it sold for €2,172,500 ($2,410,052) and After by Giambologna went for $4,233,510 at an Artcurial auction.

After, Giambologna, c.1600

Sold for $4,233,510 at Artcurial

After, Giambologna, c. 1600
After, Giambologna, c. 1600

Top Collectibles of 2019

At the beginning of the year, Artcurial’s Motorcar Department had a win with the sale of an Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta from 1939. This gorgeous car sold for €16.7 million or $19,006,200.



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Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta, 1939

Sold for $19,006,200 at Artcurial

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta

To continue, we have a Safavid ‘polonaise’ carpet made by Iranian royal ateliers for the future Polish king. It’s woven with pure gold and was sold for £3,724,750 due to its impeccable condition at Christie’s.

Safavid ‘polonaise’ carpet, 17th century

Sold for £3,724,750 ($4,844,931) at Christie’s

Safavid ‘polonaise’ carpet, 17th century
Safavid ‘polonaise’ carpet, 17th century

Another top sale was the Walschot-Schoffel Kifwebe African mask which went for $4,215,000 at Christie’s and set the record for any Songye artwork. It seems to have been incredibly important for hundreds of years to the Songye people of what is now referred to as the Republic of Congo.

Walschot-Schoffel Kifwebe African mask

Sold for $4,215,000 at Christie’s

The Walschot-Schoffel Kifwebe African mask
The Walschot-Schoffel Kifwebe African mask

Somma di arithmetica by Luca Pacioli is considered to be the most important book on mathematics to come out of the Renaissance. Written in 1494, Pacioli was a friend of Leonardo da Vinci and the rare book sold for $1,215,000 at Christie’s.

David Gilmour’s black Fender Stratocaster guitar, known lovingly as “The Black Strat” became the world’s most expensive guitar in 2019 when it sold at Christie’s for an incredible $3,975,000. The instrument was what Gilmour played on Pink Floyd’s iconic records including Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall.

David Gilmour’s “The Black Strat” – Fender Stratocaster guitar

Sold for $3,975,000 at Christie’s

The Black Strat, Fender Stratocaster guitar
The Black Strat, Fender Stratocaster guitar

As for European treasures, a German parcel-gilt silver-mounted nautilus shell cup sold for £395,250 and a royal Spanish commode sold for $447,000, and, to round out the lot, a Chinese Kangxi falangcai double lotus bowl earned its place as a top lot when it went for HK$87,200,000 (US$11,221,500), all at Christie’s auctions.

Top Antique Furniture of 2019

Of the notable sales from Artcurial in 2019, one includes a mahogany bookcase by Pierre Chareau which went for $276,265 and a unique ceiling lamp with 20 lights by Jean Royere, going for $311,836.

Mahogany bookcase, Pierre Chareau

Sold for $276,265 at Artcurial

Meuble d’applique, variante du modèle « MT 407 », Pierre Chareau, circa 1926
Meuble d’applique, variante du modèle « MT 407 », Pierre Chareau, circa 1926

Top Jewelry and Watches of 2019

Apart from the impressive paintings that reached high prices at Sotheby’s in 2019, another sale that made waves last year came from the jewelry section when a rare and exquisite fancy vivid purplish pink diamond and diamond ring sold for $19,900,000.



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Rare and exquisite fancy vivid purplish pink diamond and diamond ring

Sold for $19,900,000 at Sotheby’s

A spectacular unmounted diamond also sold for millions at Sotheby’s as did a Cartier sapphire and diamond bracelet.

Sotheby’s also sold incredible watches for millions including a George Daniels timepiece for £3,615,000. Be sure to check out our round-up of the top 8 watches sold in 2019.

Space Traveller I timepiece, George Daniels, 1982

Sold for £3,615,000 ($4,701,271) at Sotheby’s

George Daniels, London
George Daniels, London

Additionally, a diamond and platinum ring sold for $385,326 and a Bovet and Fleurier mid-19th century gold, enamel, and pearl set from the Napoleon Foundation sold for $60,362, both at Artcurial.

Finally, we have an astonishing piece of jewelry – the art deco belt brooch by Cartier that sold for $1,545,000 at Christie’s. It’s complete with Indian jewels and was designed for Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley who wore it to the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

Art deco belt brook, Cartier

Sold for $1,545,000 at Christie’s

Top Auction Highlights of 2019: Art and Collectibles

Overall, you can see that 2019 showed a good mixture of backgrounds, genres, countries, and eras. These top sellers across various auction houses are just some of the incredible art that switched hands last year. Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of our Top Auction Highlights to see the paintings that made the top spots in 2019.

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By Kaylee RandallKaylee Randall is a contributing writer, originally from Florida. who is deeply interested and invested in the arts. She lives in Australia and writes about health, fitness, art, and entertainment while sharing her own stories of transition on her personal blog.