Casket was born in Bethlehem

Ottoman mother of pearl casket – SFr30,000 (£23,100) at Schuler.

The extensive spring sale at Schuler (20/18.6/16.6% buyer’s premium) in Zurich lasted from March 18-22. The results were as varied as the works of art on offer.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Jonathan Franks

Among the highlights was a 15in (37cm) wide Ottoman casket with hinged top and three small drawers from the late 19th century.

The carcass was presumably made of olivewood which was covered in highly ornate panels of engraved and pierced mother-of-pearl.

A multitude of motifs adorned the exterior: flowers, rosettes, animals and crescent moons.

In the central reserve was an inscription in Arabic: Made in Bethlehem by Saadun Khali and the date 1309 (equivalent to 1892).

The casket was once owned by Edouard Hugenin, longtime director of the Anatolian Railway Company. It was in the catalogue with an estimate of SFr8000-10,000, but the hammer did not fall until bidding reached SFr30,000 (£23,100). The buyer was a British dealer.


The top price of the auction was achieved for Hendrick van Somer’s (1607/08-1655) 4ft 2in x 3ft 4in (1.27 x 1.03m) oil painting Salomé receives the Head of John the Baptist from c.1625.

It was knocked down to an unnamed buyer for SFr65,000 (£50,000), more than four times the lower estimate.