Hidden hoard of Chinese works of art sells for £132,000 in Lewes

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The treasures of an eccentric buyer who never unwrapped his purchases came under the hammer in Lewes.

The Louis Kosky Collection of Chineses works of art realised around £132,000 at the Gorringes auction in North Street which was packed with Chinese bidders.

By complete coincidence one of Gorringes auctioneers, Philip Taylor, found himself in Reading inspecting a modern art collection, when he received a call from an executor requesting an urgent visit to inspect a large collection of Oriental pieces ... in Reading.

Hallf an hour later Philip walked into the room of a modest apartment, on the third floor of a block of 1960s flats. Covering the floor was a remarkable array of Chinese porcelain, ivories, jades and bronzes dating from 700AD to the late 1800s.

Some 250 lots had been amassed in the 1970s by Mr Kosky, well-known in his day as a champion bridge player.

Louis bought heavily in the London salerooms of Sotheby’s and Christies, buying under his bidding “nom de plume” – Jack Alberquereque.

Curiously, he would return home to his flat and carefully stash his unwrapped boxes into a small second bedroom, never to display them. The newspapers dated 1972-1978, so for more than 35 years his treasures remained unseen until a summer’s day earlier this year.

Gorringes Oriental specialist, Dan Bray, expertly catalogued the collection which was sold last week. The highlights of the sale included a pale lavender jadeite snuff bottle selling for £3,600.

Snuff bottles were used by the Chinese as containers for snuff (ground tobacco), which was considered to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds, headaches and stomach disorders.

A magnificent example of Chinese export porcelain was a large famille verte vase, which despite being reduced in height, sold for £8,500 and a 17th/18th century bronze incense burner, with a seal mark for Hu Wenming soared to £8,000.