An 18th century silver Rococo coffee pot, the most important piece ever to appear at auction could become world’s most expensive when goes under the hammer on July 4th. According to Christie’s, this exceptional George II silver coffee-pot, made in 1738 by one of the greatest silversmiths of his day, Paul de Lamerie, is expected to fetch up to £4.5 million ($6.8 million).
This fluted three-legged coffee-pot is a tour-de-force of design and execution. It is decorated with silver reliefs, including “putti” – cherub-like figures – holding coffee bush branches, a lion’s mask, shells and foliage. It has a carved wooden handle.
The small pot, which stands little over 10in tall and weighs 34oz, was commissioned by London based trader and fellow Huguenot Sir John Lequesne who came to Britain as a child refugee and became a successful businessman.
This exceptional piece of craftsmanship has recently been the centerpiece of the British Silver exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum in New York.
This sale would trump the silver wine cistern of 18th century diplomat Thomas Wentworth, which sold for £2.5 million ($3.8 million) in 2010 but went instead to a British museum which won time to raise funds when the government deferred export approval.