The greyhound race. Thoughts on old silvers market
admin 21 March 2016
Italian and European Silver Collection / Auction 257


In 2013 Cambi created a department dedicated to the sector of Ancient and Collection Silvers, and after three years here is an analysis of what looks like a race towards an always greater success. We started the first year with two sales held alongside Jewellery, where of the approximately 220 lots presented of silverware 170 were awarded , recording a percentage of sales of 75%. Among these, an important Russian tea service, made in St. Petersburg in 1840 for the Grand Duchess Olga, the daughter of Tsar Nicholas I, which reached 28.000 euros.

ROUND PLATE Lombardy or Veneto, 17th-18th century embossed and chiselled silver, with traces of gilding


2014 saw an increase to three the auction rounds, with awards for about 500,000 euros, tripling the previous year’s results. Under the hammer of the auctioneer we saw passing a beautiful Milanese coffee maker of the eighteenth century, from the prestigious workshop of Buccellati and sold for 15,000 euros, and a rare collection of works in silver filigree, many of them documented in major publications and collections including a refined Genoese casket of the nineteenth century which has reached more than 9,000 euros.
2015 saw this Department conquering amazing results, reaching one million euros of awards thanks to the quality of works for sale.

PAIR OF TWO-ARMS CANDELABRAS WITH FAUN Genoa, Torretta punches 1792 silver

A particular notation deserve: the collection of Genoese silver in the auction dedicated to the antique dealer Mario Panzano, which saw collectors and enthusiasts fighting for the highly selected works presented in beautiful catalogue edited by Lodovico Caumont Caimi, with all lots sold multiplying the value of estimate; the group of silvers from the Roman collection of Salvatore Fornari, with a rare vermeil serving spoon from the renowned service made for the prince Massimo Borghese from the master silversmith Luigi Valadier between 1771 and 1773, sold for 12,000 euros.

Coffee maker, Argenterie Gioacchino Belli Rome, First quarter of the XIX century. Embossed silver published on “Gli Argenti Romani”

But it is with the appointment of last November that, with nearly 500,000 euros of awards, Cambi has registered the record of sales, thanks to a catalogue which presented works of exceptional importance and rarity, attracting great interest among collectors, dealers and enthusiasts.
Silvers of the most important Italian productions – from Rome to Turin, from Naples and Sicily to Milan, with very high quality works from prestigious collections and contextualized by publications on the fundamental texts for Italian silverware – as, to name a few, the refined Turin chocolate pot of the eighteenth century by the silversmith Gaspare Ravizza and already present in the first Italian exhibition on silverware held in 1956 at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan, sold for 30,000 euros; the important pair of Roman salt shakers made by the prestigious studio of Belli in the early nineteenth century to the commissioning of the princes Massimo , of which they bear the coat of arms, sold for more than 35,000 euros; finally, the extraordinary – in size and quality – Roman coffee maker from the same workshop, exemplary witness of taste between Neoclassicism and Empire, with an elegant ebony handle carved in the shape of greyhound, which reached the record amount of 52,000 euros.

The analysis of these results reveals a steady growth of the market, which rewards the quality of works provided with a significant historic and documentary background, with Italian manufacturers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that have achieved the best performances. But we record excellent exploits also for French, English and Russian silverwares, always if showing high quality.

It is especially significant the awakening of the collecting of Italian works – for too long under a shadow for a field so rich in history and ancient masterpieces like the one of Italian silverware – to which Cambi contributed, thanks to important and selected works presented, and that drives to a highly present and future commitment to quality.

To confirm this commitment in the next round of sales, which will be held in early May in the Milan headquarter of Palazzo Serbelloni, we will present important and selected works among which a rare collection of “ceremonial plates” produced between the seventeenth and eighteenth century by the most important Italian manufacturers.


Carlo Peruzzo