Why Are Marc Chagall Paintings Valuable?

Marc Chagall (1887–1985) was one of the most prolific artists of the twentieth century. His work is associated with many modernist artistic styles of that era, such as Fauvism, Cubism, Suprematism, and Surrealism, yet his work resists easy categorization. While much experimental art of the twentieth century led to increasingly abstract artistic expression, Chagall’s images embraced figurative and narrative art that married elements of modernism to more traditional imagery.

Born in the Russian Empire to a Hasidic family, Chagall spent his youth attending local Jewish schools and studying Hebrew and the Torah. Many of the themes he incorporated in his work derived from his early studies. He also discovered his love of art in those days, and in 1906 he began formally studying art, first under the Russian portrait artist Yehuda Pen and then with artist Leon Bakst. In 1910 he moved to Paris—in early paintings like I and the Village the characteristics of Cubism, the leading avant-garde movement of the time, are clearly visible.

Even during this early time in Paris, Chagall maintained his connections to his hometown, both figuratively and literally. His paintings included subject matter from village life, including pastoral scenes and weddings. In many of them, figures float freely in the sky, symbolizing his nostalgic affection for his home. These supernatural elements of his work are considered precursors of the Surrealist movement. He also returned to Russia to visit during these years, and on one of those visits he met Bella Rosenfeld, who he married in 1915. Although the couple had planned to move to Paris after their marriage, the advent of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution trapped them in Russia until 1923.

By this time, his reputation in modern art circles enabled him to travel throughout Europe and the Mediterranean and brought him important artistic commissions. In addition to Jewish themes, his art also incorporated themes from the Christian Bible. In 1931 he traveled to the Holy Lands. Unfortunately, war once again interrupted his career, forcing Chagall and his wife to flee to New York City ahead of Nazi persecution in 1941. He returned to France in 1947, a widower, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Although he is best known for his vibrant paintings, Chagall also produced numerous etchings, and later branched out into sculpture and ceramics. He produced stained glass windows for notable buildings such as the synagogue at the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem and the U.N. Building in New York, and murals for locations such as the New York Metropolitan Opera. He was also noted as an accomplished set and costume designer in his time.

Chagall’s skill in evoking emotion through dreamlike imagery that nonetheless remained grounded in his personal experience touched a chord that resonates with viewers to this day. Nowadays, his most important paintings command steep prices at auction, with the record held by Lovers, which sold for $28.5 million in November of 2017.

For collectors seeking to own a more affordable example of Chagall’s artwork, Auction King offers a selection of high-quality limited edition giclees featuring images that exemplify his unique artistic style. Every piece is authenticated by our expert team so that you can bid with confidence on the artwork that speaks to you. Register today for a free online account to find your next treasure.

Why Is Tanzanite Worth Collecting?

Those who appreciate fine jewelry know that gemstones can be found in a rainbow of different colors. Some, while beautiful, are widely available and therefore inexpensive, even in larger sizes. Others are extremely rare and costly. The law of supply and demand dictates that stones that are both attractive and scarce will be more pricey, because there simply won’t be enough to go around for everyone who wants one. Somehow, however, that rule has not yet caught up to tanzanite, one of the premier gemological finds of the twentieth century.

Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 in the Mererani foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Named for the country of its origin by Tiffany & Co., who recognized the commercial potential of the find, tanzanite has a similar hardness to emeralds (without that stone’s brittleness) and is a thousand times rarer than diamonds. Experts believe that the geologic conditions that formed tanzanite in the roughly four-square kilometer area where it is found are unlikely to be duplicated anywhere else on earth. This means that when this source is completely mined, collectors will lose the ability to buy tanzanite on the primary market. While there is disagreement on when this will occur, even optimists concede it will happen within the current generation.

The properties of tanzanite caused by its unusual geological origins are an important part of its beauty. The blue-violet stone exhibits pleochroism, which means that an individual stone will show different colors depending on the direction from which it is viewed. A fine tanzanite will show flashes of blue, violet, and burgundy. As with most colored stones, saturated color and superior clarity considerably increase the value of tanzanite.

Given its unusual characteristics and rarity, you would expect tanzanite to easily surpass diamonds in price. In the short time it has been available, it has already become the second-most popular blue gemstone, behind only sapphires. Currently, though, even top-quality tanzanite in sizes of 3 carats or more is only around $750 per carat, whereas a one-carat diamond will fetch thousands of dollars, and larger high-quality diamonds can be tens of thousands of dollars per carat. This means that the price of tanzanite does not truly reflect the reality of either its relative scarcity or the imminent disappearance of its source.

While it may be easy for interested buyers to find attractively priced tanzanite at the moment, that won’t always be the case. With the supply of unmined tanzanite decreasing and the Tanzanian government enacting tighter controls over what remains, tanzanite prices are already showing signs of going up. Collectors can expect that the tanzanite they own will increase in value over time, as the inevitable tightening of supply occurs. If they have not yet obtained this lovely stone, time is running out for buying one at artificially low prices.

At Auction King, our selection of tanzanite rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings is constantly updated with new and beautiful finds. Our live online auction gives our bidders the opportunity to purchase independently appraised fine jewelry at a fraction of retail prices, all from the convenience and comfort of their own homes. Register today for a free online account to start bidding and start winning!

Those who appreciate fine jewelry know that gemstones can be found in a rainbow of different colors. Some, while beautiful, are widely available and therefore inexpensive, even in larger sizes. Others are extremely rare and costly. The law of supply and demand dictates that stones that are both attractive and scarce will be more pricey, because there simply won’t be enough to go around for everyone who wants one. Somehow, however, that rule has not yet caught up to tanzanite, one of the premier gemological finds of the twentieth century.

Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 in the Mererani foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Named for the country of its origin by Tiffany & Co., who recognized the commercial potential of the find, tanzanite has a similar hardness to emeralds (without that stone’s brittleness) and is a thousand times rarer than diamonds. Experts believe that the geologic conditions that formed tanzanite in the roughly four-square kilometer area where it is found are unlikely to be duplicated anywhere else on earth. This means that when this source is completely mined, collectors will lose the ability to buy tanzanite on the primary market. While there is disagreement on when this will occur, even optimists concede it will happen within the current generation.

The properties of tanzanite caused by its unusual geological origins are an important part of its beauty. The blue-violet stone exhibits pleochroism, which means that an individual stone will show different colors depending on the direction from which it is viewed. A fine tanzanite will show flashes of blue, violet, and burgundy. As with most colored stones, saturated color and superior clarity considerably increase the value of tanzanite.

Given its unusual characteristics and rarity, you would expect tanzanite to easily surpass diamonds in price. In the short time it has been available, it has already become the second-most popular blue gemstone, behind only sapphires. Currently, though, even top-quality tanzanite in sizes of 3 carats or more is only around $750 per carat, whereas a one-carat diamond will fetch thousands of dollars, and larger high-quality diamonds can be tens of thousands of dollars per carat. This means that the price of tanzanite does not truly reflect the reality of either its relative scarcity or the imminent disappearance of its source.

While it may be easy for interested buyers to find attractively priced tanzanite at the moment, that won’t always be the case. With the supply of unmined tanzanite decreasing and the Tanzanian government enacting tighter controls over what remains, tanzanite prices are already showing signs of going up. Collectors can expect that the tanzanite they own will increase in value over time, as the inevitable tightening of supply occurs. If they have not yet obtained this lovely stone, time is running out for buying one at artificially low prices.

At Auction King, our selection of tanzanite rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings is constantly updated with new and beautiful finds. Our live online auction gives our bidders the opportunity to purchase independently appraised fine jewelry at a fraction of retail prices, all from the convenience and comfort of their own homes. Register today for a free online account to start bidding and start winning!

How to Prevent Silver Coins from Tarnishing

As is the case with many kinds of collectibles, the condition of a rare or unusual coin can have a significant influence on its value. Ideally, a coin should be in pristine condition, without significant wear or abrasion, in order to command the highest price. Silver coins present an additional challenge to the conscientious collector, however, because the precious metal tends to tarnish over time, and a heavily tarnished coin may be less attractive to potential buyers than an unblemished one.

Tarnish is caused by the reaction between silver and hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is present in minute quantities in the air. Over time, a dull grey or black coating will form over the surface of a silver object as the top layers of the metal react chemically with the gas. In areas with high humidity or high levels of air pollution, silver will tarnish faster. Polishing silver that has become tarnished can cause abrasion and even remove small amounts of the precious metal, so the key to long-term preservation of silver in a superior state is preventing tarnish from forming in the first place. This is especially important to note for silver coins that are collected for their numismatic value—the value derived from their history or rarity—rather than just the price of the precious metal they are made of, because damage caused by cleaning can significantly reduce their worth.

The first step is to be careful in how you handle silver coins. The oils from your skin, skincare products like lotions, and other common chemicals can predispose silver to tarnish, so it’s best to handle them as little as possible. Wash your hands before touching them and pick them up by the edges. Some collectors will even use white cotton gloves to handle their coins to prevent any possible contamination. Handle the coins over a soft surface, such as clean towel, so that they will not be nicked or scratched should you accidentally drop them.

Next, make sure that the storage materials you choose for your coins are specially designed to eliminate chemicals that could discolor or damage them, such as acid in paper or PVC in plastics. Some popular types of coin storage include:

  • 2x2s: Flat cardboard containers lined with clear mylar designed to hold one coin each.
  • Coin flips: Inexpensive clear plastic square sleeves for individual storage.
  • Air-tites: Round acrylic cases that snap closed around a single coin, allowing viewing on both sides.
  • Slabs: Sonically sealed clear plastic containers, usually put on high-value coins by professional grading services.

Proper storage materials can help reduce the chances your silver coins will be exposed to tarnish-causing agents.

Finally, temperature fluctuations and humidity will promote tarnishing. Keep your coins in a cool, temperature-controlled location, and keep the air around them dry by either putting moisture-absorbing silica packets nearby or running a dehumidifier. Even sealed coin storage containers are not 100 percent air-tight, so keeping your collection in the right environment is critical for good long-term results.

AuctionKing.com offers a wide and constantly updated selection of fine collectibles for the particular bidder. Our site combines the convenience of online shopping with authentic live-auction action run by a family with three generations in the business. Now the excitement and opportunity of bidding in a live auction can be yours no matter where you are. Register today for a free online account and start bidding!

10 Coins in Your Pocket That Could Be Worth Good Money

In these days of virtual payment methods, pocket change may seem like more of a nuisance than a potential source of wealth. However, that collection of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters may be hiding unknown treasures. The type of valuable coin you’re likely to find among modern examples are error coins, which have subtle differences from perfectly minted coins that make them attractive to collectors. You’ll have to have a sharp eye and a magnifying glass to spot the differences, but here are some that you might find lurking in your spare change:

  1. 1969-S Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – In a doubled-die coin, the die itself is made incorrectly, producing an image where elements are doubled. In this extremely rare example, every element on the obverse side except for the mint mark is doubled. Possible value: $35,000
  2. 1970-S Small Date Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – The doubling on the obverse of this coin is most clearly seen in the motto “In God We Trust” and in the letters “LIB” of “Liberty.” Possible value: $3,000
  3. 1972 Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – This example of a doubled die coin shows strong doubling on all elements on the obverse side of the coin. Authentic examples also have a tiny gouge near the edge of the coin above the letter “D” in “United.” Possible value: $500
  4. 1984 Double Ear Lincoln Penny – The doubled die error on this coin makes it appear that there is an extra earlobe below Lincoln’s ear on the obverse image. Possible value: $230
  5. 1995 Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – Many of these are still found in circulation today. Doubling is clearly seen in “Liberty” and “In God We Trust.” Possible value: $20 to $40
  6. 1999 Wide “AM” Reverse Lincoln Penny – On the reverse of a typical penny, the letters “A” and “M” in the word “America” are nearly touching. In this rare example, that gap is wider than usual because the mint mistakenly used a proof die to strike normal circulation coins. There are also examples of this coin dated 1998 and 2000, but ones from 1999 are the rarest. Possible value: $5 to $600
  7. 1982 No Mint Park Roosevelt Dime – U.S. coins are printed with a small single letter that indicates the mint where they were made (“S” for San Francisco, “P” for Philadelphia, and “D” for Denver). In 1982, the Philadelphia Mint forgot to add their mark to thousands of dimes. Possible value: $30 to $50
  8. 2004-D Wisconsin State Quarter with an Extra Leaf – Thousands of this state’s quarters somehow ended up with an extra leaf on the left side of the ear of corn featured in the design. Possible value: $200 to $300
  9. 2005 “In God We Rust” Kansas State Quarter – A grease build-up in the coin die led to an interesting typo on some of this state’s quarters. Not the most valuable error coin out there, but a definite conversation piece. Possible value: $100
  10. Presidential Dollar with Edge Lettering Errors – The U.S. began issuing dollar coins with images of our nation’s presidents in 2007. Each coin should have an inscription around the circumference of the coin, which is applied after the coin is struck. Examples with either missing or doubled inscriptions can be valuable. Possible value: $50 to $3,000 (depending on president and type of error)

Auction King seeks out unusual, interesting, and valuable collectibles to add to our inventory every day. We triple-check the authenticity of every item on our site so our customers can bid with confidence. Register today for a free online account to start bidding!

The Most Valuable Collectibles of All Time

Many categories of collectibles inspire passion in their loyal fans: porcelain, coins, movie memorabilia, sports memorabilia, comic books, and more. It seems that no matter what your area of interest, somebody will be gathering up rare or interesting examples of that subject. Some of these unusual items set jaw-dropping records when they go up for sale. While the prices that ultra-rare collectibles command are beyond the reach of most of us, it’s fascinating to look at some record-breakers.

Honus Wagner Baseball Card – $3.12 Million – 2016

As one of the rarest baseball cards in existence, this Honus Wagner card broke the record for the most valuable baseball card set in 2007 ($2.8 million)…by another Honus Wagner card. Although baseball cards are one of the most well-known category of sports memorabilia, it’s not unusual for rare items in a variety of sports to go for staggering prices at auction.

1931 Dracula Movie Poster – $525,800 – 2017

This movie poster broke the world record for most expensive ever sold when it was put on the block by Heritage Auctions in 2017. It is one of only two surviving examples of the poster from the movie starring Bela Lugosi.

Action Comics #1 – $3.2 Million – 2014

This 1938 comic book, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, featured the first comic book appearance by Superman. It is widely credited for starting the Golden Age of superhero comic books, and originally sold for only a dime.

Ru Guanyo Brush Washer Bowl – $37.7 Million – 2017

This small, shallow 900-year-old dish from the Northern Song Dynasty set a record for Chinese porcelain when it was auctioned by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. The blue-green glaze and “ice-crackle” pattern featured in this dish are extremely rare, having been produced for only two decades.

Wallis Simpson’s Panther Bracelet – $12.4 Million – 2010

The anonymous bidder who claimed this onyx and diamond bracelet once owned by Wallis Simpson claimed a priceless piece of history from one of the most shocking events to impact the British monarchy in the 20th century. The American divorcee’s affair with King Edward VIII led to his abdication from the throne in 1936.

Sickle-Leaf Persian Rug – $33.76 Million – 2013

This rug, which was once part of the Williams Andrew Clark estate, blew past pre-auction estimates when it went up for auction. It holds the honor of being the most expensive rug ever sold at auction, which it owed in part to its unusual combination of rarity and superior condition.

While some collectors can afford to spend whatever the market demands, most of us prefer to shop where our budget will go further. Auction King offers a wide selection of authenticated collectibles at below-market prices on our convenient, secure online auction site. With three generations of experience in the business, we offer the most authentic auction experience available online. Our continually updated selection features unique, antique, and luxurious items. Register for a free online account today and get started.

Using a Black Light to Examine Antiques

When you’re in the market for antique or vintage items, you know that there are all kinds of ways unscrupulous dealers can misrepresent the items they have for sale. Both the age and condition of antique items influence their value heavily, but neither is always easy to fully determine through a visual inspection alone. Examining an item under black light is a simple step that can reveal useful information about an item you’re considering purchasing.

Black lights put out ultraviolet radiation. While this wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum is not visible to the human eye, when it reflects off of certain materials it produces light that we can see. Thus, it can make previously hidden repairs or touch-ups more visible. Also, some specific examples of antique items are known to glow in certain colors in ultraviolet light, while modern reproductions of those pieces do not. Here’s what a black light examination can tell you about these types of pieces:

Porcelain: Expert repairs on a piece of fine porcelain may not be visible, but the modern glue used will fluoresce under a black light, making the extent and location of the fix apparent. Modern paints used to touch up faded designs or details will fluoresce as well. Black light can also help distinguish between hard paste and soft paste porcelain pieces, because the former will glow deep blue or purple, while the latter will glow white.

Glassware: Certain types of glassware will glow under a black light, which can help establish the authenticity of a piece. For example, both green Depression glass and Vaseline glass contain uranium oxide, which will cause them to fluoresce. It’s best to do your homework in advance to determine whether the type of piece you’re considering is expected to have an established fluorescent effect under black light, as the lack of one in that case can quickly reveal a reproduction being marketed as the real thing.

Cast iron: In the 1900s, many interesting pieces were made of painted cast iron, including mechanical toys, banks, and door stops. These can be quite valuable when found in good condition with their original paint. However, there are many reproductions of these types of pieces on the market as well, and it isn’t always easy to tell the difference. Modern paint and glue will show up under a black light, revealing touch-ups, repairs, and outright fakes.

Ephemera on paper: Paper products—think baseball cards, posters, postcards, photos, etc.—from before the 1930s rarely glow under black light. In the 1940s, however, paper manufacturers started widely using chemicals called “optical brighteners” to make their paper look whiter, which means that modern paper generally glows under UV light. This can help distinguish an original from a reproduction.

Of course, using a black light will not give you all the information you need to know about an antique. Such examinations should be used in conjunction with other information and expert advice before you make a decision to buy. You should also take care to work only with reliable dealers who stand behind the authenticity of the antiques and collectibles they put up for sale.

Auction King offers a wide variety of collectibles and vintage items in different categories for the particular collector. We triple-check the authenticity of every item on our site so that our clients can bid with confidence. Register today for a free online account to find your next treasure.

How to Properly Store Collectibles

When you’ve taken the trouble to put together a collection of prized items, whether it’s of sports memorabilia, artwork, ceramics, textiles, or other valuables, then you already know that the condition of a collectible item has a profound influence on its value. This means that knowing how to properly display and store your items is paramount to preserving their value, because improper conditions can cause irreversible damage. Here are the primary factors to watch out for:

Light

Excessive light can damage almost any kind of collectible. It fades artworks on paper as well as the dyes in textiles and original signatures on memorabilia. In addition, it can dry out organic materials such as leather, paper, wood, and cloth. Every kind of collectible should be stored away from direct sunlight. Artworks on paper should be framed with conservation or museum glass, which block UV rays, for additional protection. In general, try to find a low light location to display your collectibles, and do not leave display lighting on for extended periods of time.

Temperature

Extreme temperatures, whether they are hot or cold, can ruin your collectibles. This is why attics and garages make terrible storage places for these types of items. The ideal temperature for preserving delicate materials like paper, wood, and natural fibers is 64 degrees. If you’re storing collectibles in your home, that temperature is far too cool for comfort, but don’t worry if you can’t achieve that. Just scout out the room or area of your house that tends to stay consistently cool, because that will be the best spot to store or display your collection.

If you need to move your collection to a spot where the temperature is quite a bit different from its original location, do so gradually. Sudden temperature changes can cause cracks in the finish of ceramics and in glass, as well as negatively affecting other types of collectibles.

Humidity

To preserve collectibles, humidity needs to be at a happy medium of neither too damp nor too dry. Under damp conditions, mold grows, destructive insects breed, and metal rusts. Under dry conditions, organic materials shrink, crack, and become brittle. You’ll want a good balance of humidity (around 50 percent) whether your items are out on display or put away in storage.

Chemicals

Collectibles should not be cleaned the way you might clean other items in your home. Harsh chemicals can damage fragile materials. If you feel your items need care, start with a gentle dry clean—brushing dust away carefully with a soft paintbrush or blowing it away using a can of dry compressed air held at a safe distance from the item. If you feel that’s not enough, do some research or consult a professional before you proceed to trying anything further. For some items, removing the aged finish that develops over the years actually decreases their value, so don’t be hasty to scrub them clean.

At Auction King, we search out unique collectibles of all kinds to bring to our bidders at the lowest possible prices. We triple-check the authenticity of each item so you can bid with confidence on our secure online platform. Sign up today for a free online account to start bidding and winning!

The History of Collectible Milk Glass

Milk glass is a type of opaque glass that first originated in Venice in the 16th century. Despite the name, not all milk glass is white—even very old pieces can be found in alternative colors such as pink, blue, or brown. Although the genesis of this type of glass is quite old, the milk glass that is found in the collectible market today tends to date from the 19th and 20th centuries, and much of it was produced in America.

White milk glass became popular during the Victorian era because it was a beautiful and economical alternative to porcelain, which it resembles. (This is also the era when the term “milk glass” was coined to describe this type of glassware.) A wide variety of decorative pieces were made out of this type of glass, including glasses, dishes, vases, perfume bottles, and decorative boxes. During the Great Depression and into the 1940s, milk glass went out of vogue somewhat, only to enjoy a revival in both popularity and production in the 1950s and 1960s.

Because milk glass has enjoyed such a long history, the value of pieces can vary considerably depending on their origin and condition. Milk glass that dates from the 19th century is more valuable than that of more recent manufacture, and pieces that feature unusual patterns will fetch a higher price than more common ones. Some milk glass pieces were designed to commemorate historic events or highlight patriotic themes, such as dishes featuring the likeness of George Washington or memorial pieces for Presidents Lincoln and Garfield. These types can be quite valuable, depending on their rarity.

Different patterns of milk glass have become associated with particular manufacturers, such as Fenton’s Hobnail pattern, which it introduced in 1939 and soared to popularity in the 1950s. However, many iconic designs were copied and made by multiple manufacturers, such as covered dishes designed to look like nesting hens. Written guides and identification websites can help interested collectors learn about the variations in design and production during milk glass’s heyday.

The long history of milk glass can make it tricky to definitively identify an individual piece as being authentic. This has been complicated by the fact that as some glass manufacturers have gone out of business and their molds were sold off to other companies, some of which continued to produce new pieces with them. Some experts suggest looking through a piece of milk glass in sunlight to detect the iridescent color around the edges known as the “ring of fire,” which is supposed to distinguish older pieces from more recent ones. Makers’ marks on the glass can also help you pin down the date when a particular piece was made. However, if establishing an exact positive ID and value on a piece is important to you, you should take it to an appraiser for an expert examination.

Auction King seeks out unusual and attractive collectibles to bring to our clients at below-market prices on our convenient online platform. We verify the authenticity of our pieces so that you can rest assured that what you see is what you’ll get. We constantly update our selection with new finds from our extensive network of sources. Register for a free online account today to start bidding.

Top 5 Reasons to Purchase Fine Art at Auction

The online revolution is affecting the way we all do business, and the art world is no exception. Collectors are finding increasing opportunities for buying art online as galleries and auction houses realize that their buyers want to have the option of purchasing without having to turn up in person. Here are the top five reasons to buy fine art from an online auction:

  • Accessibility – Going to a physical space such as a gallery to view art can be both time-consuming and limiting. Depending on your location, it may even be impossible to get to a dealer who stocks the type of artwork you’re interested in. Online auctions give you the ability to view and bid on artworks that may be located in another county, state, or time zone, rather than being confined to only what can be found in your area.
  • Transparency – Galleries have been known to restrict the number of works available from artists and to hide information about the value of those works, making it difficult for art collectors to accurately assess the market. Browsing online auctions gives you the chance to compare and research, ultimately allowing you to make better-informed decisions.
  • Variety – When art dealers have to maintain physical space to display the artworks they have for sale, they have to make choices about what they’ll offer. Some will concentrate on particular artists, styles, or time periods, which leads to a narrower selection. Online auctions don’t have that constraint, and thus can offer a wider range of pieces to choose from.
  • Excitement! – When you buy at auction, the process itself is part of the appeal, from determining the items you’ll pursue, deciding on your bidding strategy, and monitoring the action. The thrill is heightened in a live auction, where you are bidding in real time against other collectors, all intent on winning the same item. When you do win, you not only have an artwork to treasure, but you’ll also have a story to tell.
  • Savings – While the media likes to talk up stories of famous artworks fetching jaw-dropping prices at auction, the reality is that most of the time, buying fine art at auction can save you money. Depending on why or by whom the art is being sold, it may be offered with no reserve price (the minimum amount a seller will accept) because the seller is eager to get whatever price they can. In addition, online auctions do not have to support the expense of maintaining a gallery space or similar physical location, which can drive up the fees that a dealer adds to the cost of every artwork they sell. An auction can be a great opportunity to get a stunning piece of art at far less than you would have imagined.

Auction King stocks an array of authenticated originals, prints, lithographs, etchings, and more. We’re constantly on the lookout for new high-quality pieces for our customers. Our secure proprietary bidding platform gives you the convenience of online bidding with confidentiality and confidence. Register for a free online account today to get started.

10 of the Rarest Gemstones in the World

Most of us are familiar with popular gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. However, the range of precious stones goes far beyond the types that are readily found in jewelry. Many beautiful gemstones are less well known simply because of their astounding rarity. Ten that you might not even have heard of are:

Larimar: Found only in the Dominican Republic, this variety of the silicate mineral pectolite can be white, light blue, blue-green, or deep blue. It was originally discovered in 1916 by a priest, but not mined at that time. The stone was rediscovered by a Dominican and a Peace Corps volunteer in 1974.

Tanzanite: Discovered in 1967 in the Mererani foothills of Tanzania, this variety of the mineral zoisite exhibits strong trichroism (meaning that it can appear either blue, violet, or burgundy, depending on how the crystal is oriented). The only area in which this gemstone can be found is a mere 4.3 by 1.2 miles.

Black opal: While white opals are fairly common, black opals, which have a black background color, are extremely rare. The vivid play-of-color that characterizes the most valuable opals stands out particularly well against a dark background, making these stones highly coveted.

Grandidierite: This mineral was first discovered in Madagascar in 1902, and named in honor of Alfred Grandidier, a French explorer. Grandidierite is a blue-green type of magnesium aluminum borosilicate that gets its color from trace amounts of iron. The few gem-quality examples of this mineral ever found have all come from Madagascar.

Alexandrite: First discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia, this color-change variety of chrysoberyl was named in honor of Alexander II, the heir to the Russian throne. The gem can appear red or green, depending on the light source under which it is viewed. Although new deposits have been discovered since the original source was mined out, this gem is no less rare.

Benitoite: This gem is named for the San Benito River in California, near where it was first found in 1907. While the rare barium titanium silicate mineral has been found in other places, the only gem-quality examples come from a sole source in California, which closed down in 2005, making this gem even more difficult to find.

Painite: Found only in Myanmar, painite was identified as a new type of gemstone in 1957 from a single crystal specimen. Although more painite has been discovered over the last decade, much of it cannot be made into faceted gems due to heavy inclusions and fractures.

Red beryl: This extremely rare type of beryl gets its unusual color from trace amounts of manganese. It is found in gem-quality crystals in only one location in the world, the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah.

Taaffeite: Taaffeite is the only mineral known to have been first identified as a new type of gemstone from a cut and polished stone. The mauve stone had been misidentified as a spinel, but its discoverer, Richard Taaffe, noted qualities that distinguished it from that gemstone. It was eventually traced back to its source in Sri Lanka, but remains exceedingly rare.

Jeremejevite: Although this light purplish-blue mineral was first described in 1883, the first crystals found in Russia were tiny and not suitable for cutting. Sources in Namibia have since yielded jeremejevites that are large enough and of suitable quality for gemstones, but in quantities so small that it is still considered one of the rarest of all gemstones.

Whether you’re looking for unusual gems or a familiar favorite, Auction King has a wide selection of fine jewelry at below market prices. Our secure auction site allows you to bid in confidence from the comfort of your own home. Register today for a free online account and start bidding.