Historic artworks and sculptures have fetched millions at auctions. And auctioneers Woolley and Wallis are hoping for the same result when they auction rare 250-year-old jade elephants. The sculptures were made for Emperor Qianlong in the 1700s and later owned by an English aristocrat. Measuring just 7.5 inches long and 6.5 inches high, the Asian elephants have tusks and are said to be made by China’s finest craftsmen. The animals, which have a bidding start price of £250,000 ($388,000), are marked with the Qianlong stamp and were created to sit on either side of one of the emperor’s thrones. It is believed that the sculptures were brought to Britain in the 19th century before becoming the treasured possessions of Mary Anna Marten, OBE, who died this year aged 80. The elephants will be sold along with another item Mrs. Marten kept at Dorset’s family seat, a Chinese imperial white jade bell.
The auction is slated to take place on 19th May in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and is sure to attract collectors like bees to honey.