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

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.