Converse toasts Chinese New Year early with Dec. 26 sale

Chinese New Year

Rare 19th century French rolling ball waterwheel clock housed in a gilded bronze case. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Converse Auctions image

PAOLI, Pa. – Converse Auctions invites collectors to ring in the New Year a few days early by participating in an online-only Important Chinese New Year Antique Auction on Saturday, Dec. 26, at noon Eastern time. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

“We have been saving our finest items to feature in this important sale,” said Todd Converse. “There are over 300 lots to bid on.”

The many fine Chinese antiques on offer include exquisite jade carvings, porcelain (including palace vases and chargers), paintings, jewelry, bronze Buddhas, scholars’ items, fine furniture (including throne, carved chairs with stone insets and tables), snuff bottles and seals, jewelry and items from the collection of Dr. Morris V. Shelanski, a prolific antiques collector.

One item certain to attract great attention is lot 305, a rare 19th century French rolling ball waterwheel clock (above), almost identical to one in Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing (est. $3,000-$5,000). This extraordinary French industrial clock is powered by large steel ball bearings (not spring driven). The ornate case is made of gilded bronze, topped by a regal lion.

A large and impressive jade table screen (below) with numerous scholars’ items pictured in relief, 29½ inches by 42½ inches, also has an estimate of $3,000-$5,000. The stone appliqued items are carved in jade, lapis lazuli, cinnabar, carnelian, malachite and other stones. Calligraphy and an artist’s mark are painted in gold. The wood frame is carved in cloud shapes.

Chinese New Year

Jade table screen, 29 ½ inches by 42 ½ inches, with carved stone appliqued images. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Converse Auctions image

A dramatic and monumental pair of yellow dragon palace vases, each one 28 inches tall, is also expected to bring $3,000-$5,000. The vases boast multicolored dragons swirling among flaming clouds and pearls. Both have a turquoise interior and bottom, pierced pink dragon handles, a ruyi border under the rim, a wave pattern at the base and the Qianlong mark on the bottom of each.

Chinese New Year

Monumental pair of yellow dragon palace vases, 28in high. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Converse Auctions image

A large antique archaic Chinese bronze urn with an interior swivel lid covered in calligraphy and a single loose ring, 23 inches tall, has an estimate of $1,000-$1,500. The archaic borders begin with meander, to dragon, to shield shapes at the shoulder with faces. The body has a wide border of faces with much larger shield shapes under reaching to the foot.

Chinese New Year

Large antique archaic Chinese bronze urn, 23in high. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Converse Auctions image

A pair of 40-inch-tall antique carved zitan vase stands, both elaborately carved all over, are expected to realize $1,500-$2,500. The aprons have a meander border framing flowers and tendrils, over an archaic pattern facing dragons and cloud forms over a bat holding a lucky coin in its mouth. The tops of the legs have pierced designs of dragons. The legs are carved in cloud forms.

A Chinese Han Dynasty (circa 206 B.C.-A.D. 220) plate, from the collection of Dr. Shelanski, 8¾ inches in diameter, is estimated to change hands for $1,000-$1,500. The plate was previously glazed with a celadon/mercury amalgam, but much of the glaze has flaked.

A large, antique hand-painted thangka, 61 inches by 51 inches, showing a central Buddha figure in the lotus position, bejeweled with bracelets and a headdress and surrounded by various gods, should hit $400-$600.

Chinese New Year

Antique hand-painted thangka, 61in x 51in. Estimate: $400-$600. Converse Auctions image

Other noteworthy objects include an impressive carved and pierced zitan throne chair (lot 174); a carved white jade urn in a presentation box (lot 130); a large carved four-tier Chinese wedding basket (lot 52); a Republic Period hundred-deer Hu vase (lot 70); a large antique blue and white charger (lot 301); a large antique framed ancestral painting (lot 235); a rare large 18th century Chinese cinnabar vase; and an antique Chinese gilt bronze seated Buddha (lot 36).

To make an appointment to preview the auction, contact Convers Auctions at 610-722-9004 or


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