Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, October 20, 1937

20.X.37

London.

Dear Robert.

Under a black sky, internationally and stock-exchangeably (I won’t waste words on that), I’ve been to see the collection of rings of which I sent you a catalogue.Catalogue of the Superb Collection of Rings Formed by the Late Monseiur E. Guilhou, of Paris, Comprising Rings of the Classical Period, Including Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Rings, Rings of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Times . . . Which will be Sold by Auction . . . on Tuesday, the 9th of November 1937, and Three Following Days (London: Sotheby and Co, 1937). There are some marvels. I have had a talk with Sothebys (whom, on reflection, I think we’d better have do the bidding, if any, instead of SpinkSpink & Son, London, an auction house that principally deals with coins and paper money.), and have their ideas of probable prices. So far, there is no indication that minimum prices will be imposed by the owner.

All but one of the rings I think you might like to go for are reproduced in the catalogue, so I’ll refer to them by number, taking the Byz. ones first. The Merovingian & Carolingian rings, several of which have inscriptions, are expected to fetch higher prices, on the whole, than the Byz. ones. I don’t know whether you are keen on the Merovingian rings; if you are at all interested, this is probably an unique occasion, and with the markets upset as at present, prices might be very low.

I send you enclosed a separate list of the rings I recommend, with brief remarks where necessary, and the price which Sothebys think each may fetch. You might consider all this, and then either cable or ‘phone Bill: 50 Argyll Road, W.*. Tel. Western 4641, the prices to which you wish to go on each. He can’t be at the sale, and it’s perhaps as well he shouldn’t bid. Sothebys would do the bidding. They’re quite trustworthy, from my experience & from all I’ve heard.

Of course the Burgundian Jean Sans-Peur ring,The ring of Jean Sans-Peur, Duke of Burgundy, who was assassinated in 1419. The ring was found in 1792 in his tomb. No. 618, will fetch a huge price: they don’t know, (can’t venture to guess) how much. I’ll try them again on this. But it’s rather out of your line—& the bidding is sure to be hot.

I also refrain from talking to you about any of the antique rings—tho’ some of them are marvels. Bill can always arrange to see Sotheby’s, if you want him to make inquiries about rings I haven’t mentioned—Love to you both, & in much haste—

Yrs

R. T.

P.S.

I hope things will hold together here in wicked old Europe, at any rate until I get the marriage-belt,BZ.1937.33. and. . . . arrange my own little immediate future. Nothing yet settled.

Guichon Coll.Édouard Guilhou, a Parisian collector. Catalogue of the Superb Collection of Rings Formed by the Late Monseiur E. Guilhou, of Paris, Comprising Rings of the Classical Period, Including Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Rings, Rings of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Times . . . Which will be Sold by Auction . . . on Tuesday, the 9th of November 1937, and Three Following Days (London: Sotheby and Co, 1937). (Sothebys, Nov. 11 ‘37)

___________________

Cat. No.

Sotheby’s guess at

probable price

449

£30 to 40

453

40 to 50

–*

455

fine style, better than repro:

40 to 50

456BZ.1937.26.

very rare, & a flattering object

60 to 70

458

“ Early Christian “ but good of its kind

about £30 ?

459

50 to 60

460BZ.1947.15.

the best I know of its kind

200 to 300

462

(not reproduced, one of three

very good style indeed)

45 to 50

463

A most lovely ring, & just the

right weight—a little marvel

60 to 70

490

about 60

494

very successful object

30 to 40

 

 

6*

497

498

499BZ.1937.28.

important historically: not

to me very desirable; tho’ 499

would be if the stone were to be original

£ 100 each

505

desirable

40 to 50

1

528

about the best “architectural

ring I’ve seen, very desirable

about £ 100

3

533

very good & desirable

20 to 30

4

537

lovely (the colour—repro is a libel)

60 to 75

5

546

good: also the stone

30 to 40

2

548

adorable—stone looks as if

It had been sucked

50 to 60

(I should have

thought more for No. 548)

[* marginal marks and numbering in pencil in the hand of Robert Woods Bliss]

 
Associated People: William Royall Tyler
Associated Places: London (United Kingdom)
Associated Artworks: BZ.1937.26; BZ.1937.28; BZ.1937.33; BZ.1947.15