Create Account

Enlarge Text
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.

Login to leave a comment.

Join The Discussion is pleased to share your comments. Your postings may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in our print publications. We encourage a variety of opinions, but ask that you refrain from profanity and hate speech. To post comments, you must be a registered user of Please remember that your username will appear with any comments you post.

Get The Latest Collecting News Every Week for FREE!

Enter your email below to receive Kovels Komments for the latest antiques & collectibles news, answers to readers questions, marks and tips. In your inbox every Wednesday.

You can unsubscribe at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy or Contact us for more information.
Kovels Premium