Bejeweled Silkworm Automaton Slinks Away for $350,595

An amazing jeweled gold and enamel 3-inch-long animated silkworm made in about 1810 for a touring show and exhibit sold in 1834 for today's equivalent of $9. In July 2013, it auctioned at Sotheby's London for $350,595.


animated caterpillar silkworm jeweled enamel


Photo: Sotheby's




#1 jeboth00 2013-09-04 22:19
As I recall, this has been on the market before. I believe it was made in the West, but meant as a gift for the Qianlong Emperor, who had a fascination with automatons. Unfortunately, he died in 1796 and his successors were not as interested. It is this history which adds to the value of this little piece. But it is also an amazing little bit of mechanical marvelousness, which was probably the bigger part of the value.

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