ASSISTANCE REQUEST: IIS member Harvey Silk asks for your help.
Recently an American website was discovered that had its theme Jewish circumcision knives.
An excellent website. The site owner actually admitted making mistakes! It also had pictures of items which were perhaps inadvertently misrepresented and sold.
Shortly after reading the article, saw a very interesting knife in the basement of an antique shop in Stockholm . Absolutely true in the corner in the basement.
Took pictures of it. Shared it with the circumcision knife site owner. And he decided to make the purchase.
The following is the sales letter that was sent:
This very unusual knife was discovered in Stockholm . none of the people that have examined it have any clue about its design or history.
The handle is ivory. at the moment I cannot tell you if it's from a walrus or an elephant.
The blade appears to be steel with gold inlays.
It "feels" right. The ivory handle was made to fit that blade. as recalled, the overall length is around 5 inches.
This item "may" fit into your collection.
I cannot think of any other utilization for this design, shape, or quality. As a quick estimate the date is 1860-1890.
The purchase was made. The object was sent to America . Passed through customs without any problem.
The purchaser then placed a picture of the object in a knife collector's website. There it was identified as a paper knife. Used both for folding paper and cutting pages in new books.
Yes, a little knowledge can be dangerous........
The picture is on the website because it might be interesting to the members of our society. It appears that the structure of the material is ivory. It has lines, and is very dense. However, if somebody actually told me it was Marine ivory based upon the Scandinavian connection it would not be surprising.
The blade is steel with gold color decoration/inlay.
If any member of the society has a similar utensil/knife/object it would be a pleasure to put them in contact with the collector.
I.M. CHAIT'S RATIONALE FOR THE DIP IN IVORY PRICES: Thanks to IIS member MAUREEN HEENAN for submitting this information.
There are only a few high-profile auctions that Asian art aficionados consider accurate indicators of how the marketplace is trending. One of them is I.M. Chait’s annual Asia Week Auction, a perennially trustworthy point of reference for what’s selling today and what’s likely to be selling tomorrow, whether rare Chinese ceramics or precious jades.
With Chait’s recent Asia Week Auction results as the basis for market prognostication, it’s safe to say there’s no end in sight for the spectacular run Chinese antiques have been enjoying over the past few years. The Beverly Hills , Calif. , company’s March 22 auction held at Manhattan ’s historic Fuller Building chalked up nearly $2.1 million, with a robust 83% sell-through rate. All prices quoted include a 22% buyer’s premium.
“The market for Asian art, especially Chinese, is not even slowing down. Even the Japanese market seems to be having a little resurgence,” said Chait’s founder and auctioneer Isadore M. Chait, who has been actively dealing in the specialty for 45 years. If there is any noticeable softness at all, it is in the area of ivory, Chait noted, and it’s not for lack of collector interest.
“Ivory has taken a little dip because people are still unsure as to the ramifications of our country and other countries’ viewpoints on endangered species. The laws are still vague,” Chait said. “Everything else in Chinese art is just rolling along at breakneck speed, and the appetite for good things is voracious.”
The 100+ bidders who attended Chait’s 5-hour sale – approximately 70% of whom were from Mainland China – showed obvious sophistication in their buying and claimed many of the day’s top prizes. But it was far from a cakewalk. They faced formidable competition from beyond the gallery walls. There were 180 absentee and telephone bidders in the mix, as well as 469 additional bidders participating online. Postsale statistics revealed that Internet bidders prevailed on over 30% of the 353 lots offered.