Mughal Dagger Tops $314,000 at Rago’s September 16th Auction

  • LAMBERTVILLE, New Jersey
  • /
  • September 19, 2012

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Jewel Encrusted Mughal Dagger, $314,500
Rago Arts and Auction Center



Mughal Dagger Tops $314,000 at Rago’s September 16th Auction


“Daggers such as this only come to auction once in a collector’s lifetime”


Lambertville, NJ: Rago Arts and Auction Center’s 2000 lot auction on September 14, 15 and 16 would have been a great success without lot 2606. With it, Rago’s has made news. Lot 2606, catalogued as “jewel encrusted Mughal dagger,  Northern India, rare Kanhjar form, 18th/19th c. Quillon, grip and pommel in gold set with cabochon rubies, emeralds and diamonds stretched over iron, sheath with similar mountings, finely worked Damascus steel blade,” sold on the phone to a private collector for $314,500.


The collector, who wishes to remain private, said this of his purchase, "Beautifully crafted and decorated daggers such as this only come to auction once in a collector's lifetime. When I laid eyes on it, I immediately recognized not only the sheer beauty of its form, but also its undeniable historic and cultural significance. To think that centuries ago a fabulously wealthy and powerful Mughal Emperor or Indian Maharajah may well have owned this glorious example of human endeavor instills in me a deep sense of privilege and honor. Indeed, it is an incredible feeling to be the latest custodian of this elegant and rare weapon".


“We knew that it would sell far over estimate when we set the price.” said Tom Martin, who heads Rago’s Estates department, “Needless to say, we had no idea what the final selling price would be. One of specialists here did guess $250,000 as the hammer. Maybe it was the twenty phone bidders that clued him in.”


The twenty phone bidders were a new record at Rago’s, up from eighteen for a lot by contemporary artist Raymond Pettibon that sold in a recent fine art auction. The selling price was not a record at Rago’s, which has sold property for upwards of $500,000 before. It is the highest selling price for property outside of Rago’s founding specialty in 20th c. design and an apt demonstration of how the auction house has evolved.


An online search indicates this to be the second-highest selling price for such a dagger. Another, from the Theodor Sehmer and Heidi Vollmoeller Collections, described as "North India or Deccan, second half 17th century," sold at Christie's in London in 2004 for $1,149,909.




There were a number of other extremely strong sales in the Great Estates auction, as well as the two-day Discovery auction which preceded it, also worthy of note, if less excitement.  Ephemera performed exceedingly well. Lot 2627, the George T. Dowling Abolitionist papers, consisting of twenty letters, including one from Abraham Lincoln dated 1862, one from President Grant and others from prominent civil rights leaders and abolitionists, brought $20,000. An Edgar Allen Poe autograph brought $11,875. A collection of Lotten glass brought over $60,000, exceeding the high estimate and bringing in buyers from across the country. Coins and currency (lots 2651-1395) achieved a total of over $61,000, surpassing the high estimate of $49,100.  


·          Hammer: $ 917,770

·          Hammer + b.p. $ 1,147,212

·          Number of lots: 697

·          % sold: 90% 

·          Bidders in-house: 113

·          Absentee bidders: 98

·          Phone Bidders:  163

·          Bidders online: 1624 (online bidders from: U.S., Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, Japan, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Spain, France, Austria, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Philippines, Thailand, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands)


Highlighted Top Lots:


1.     2606     Jewel Encrusted Mughal Dagger   $ 314,500

2.     2627     George T. Downing Abolitionist Papers     $ 20,000

3.     2269     Alfred Boucher Figural Bronze Sculpture, "Au But" $ 20,000

4.     2284     19th C. European Genre Scene Oil on Panel of a Market Scene       $ 17,500

5.     2312     George Woodall / Thomas Webb Rock Crystal Decanter and Six Assembled Glasses $ 15,000

6.     2228     Pair of French Dore Bronze Candelabra    $ 13,750

7.     2596     Edgar Allan Poe Autograph          $ 11,875

8.     2338     Chinese Ivory Carving    $ 8,750

9.     2607     Mughal Dagger Rock Crystal Handle         $ 8,750

10.  2271     Mythological Bronze Hercules, on Marble Base      $ 6,250






·          Hammer: $ $247,990

·          Hammer + b.p. $ 309,875

·          Number of lots: 678

·          Bidders online: 982


Highlighted Top Lots:


1.     357    Chinese Porcelain Jardinière     $ 25,000

2.     331    Bronze Rooster     $ 9,375

3.     306    Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Service Haviland     $ 5,000

4.     219    Michael Adams Aurora Studios Chandelier     $ 3,375

5.     630    U.S. 1C, 5C, 10C, AND $1     $ 3,375

6.     222    Michael Adams Aurora Studios Hanging Lanterns     $ 2,750

7.     32      Leaded Glass Lamp     $ 2,500

8.     223    Michael Adams Aurora Studios Hanging Lanterns     $ 2,125

9.     598    Sterling Wallace "Carmel" Utensils     $ 1,500   

10.  166    Lalique "Pan" perfume bottle, c. 1920     $ 1,375 






·          Hammer: $ $307,240

·          Hammer + b.p. $ 384,050

·          Number of lots: 624

·          Bidders online: 1823


Highlighted Top Lots:


1.     916    American Studio Large Trestle Dining Table     $ 6,875

2.     1317  Carl Malmsten Set of Six Dining Chairs     $ 5,938

3.     914    Mira Nakashima Conoid Host Chair     $ 4,375

4.     1285  Jules Leleu Circular Wool Area Rug     $ 4,375

5.     1268  Eero Saarinen Knoll Studio Tulip Dining Table     $ 4,063

6.     846A  Donald Deskey Charak Cabinet with Hutch     $ 3,375

7.     927    Paul Evans Steel Coffee Table     $ 3,125

8.     1161  Edward Wormley Dunbar Reclining Daybed     $ 3,125

9.     786    Feliciano Bejar Three Mini Magiscopes, Mexico     $ 2,250  

10.  838    Antonio Grediaga Kieff Bronze Bust     $ 2,625 




Rago Auctions will hold the next Great Estates Auction on December 8, 2012 and Discovery Auction on January 11, 2013. Consignments are now being accepted for all auctions: 609.397.9374 or 



High resolution images/more information available on request.


About Rago Arts and Auction Center

Since 1994, Rago's has served thousands of sellers and buyers with a singular blend of global reach and personal service. Originally specialists in 20th century design, today Rago's expertise covers centuries of fine art, decorative arts, furnishings, jewelry and ethnographic property.  It is a world-class venue through which to buy and sell. It is also a destination for those who seek to learn and share knowledge about art, antiques and collecting, offering free valuations for personal property (from a single piece to collections and estates), appraisals and auction exhibitions in house and online. Rago's, the largest and leading auction house in New Jersey, is located midway between Philadelphia and New York.






Miriam Tucker
Rago Arts and Auction Center

Rago Arts and Auction Center
333 N. Main Street
Lambertville, New Jersey

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