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Silver Tureen Sets Record at Auction; Two Monets Sell for $26.4 million

November 14, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ An 18th-century silver soup dish once owned by the French royal family sold for a record $10.2 million, and at a separate auction two Claude Monet paintings sold for $26.4 million.

The 30-pound silver tureen, sold Wednesday at Sotheby’s, was made in 1733 by Thomas Germain, a goldsmith and sculptor to French King Louis XV.

The price was more than triple the previous record for a single piece of silver _ $3.3 million in December 1993 for a chandelier, said Kevin Tierney, director of Sotheby’s silver department.

Tierney called the tureen ``a work of art of extraordinary rarity″ that was steeped in history. It survived the general melt of silver by the French king in 1759 to finance the Seven Years War, and the Revolution, he said.

The seller was George Ortiz, a Swiss collector. The buyer was not identified.

At a Christie’s auction, also Wednesday, two Monet garden paintings sold for $13,202,500 each.

``The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil,″ from 1881, shows a garden of sunflowers divided by a stone staircase leading to a deep blue sky, and ``Nympheas″ is a shimmering waterlily painting from 1905.

Each was from the private collection of philanthropist Jane Engelhard. The buyers weren’t identified.

Fifty-three art works were sold for a total of $82,541,500.

The Christie’s auction was the second in a two-week series. On Tuesday, Sotheby’s sold 44 works for $92,540,000.

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