Auction Information
Auctioneer A.H. WILKENS Auctions & Appraisals Toronto 416 360 7600
Auction Date Oct 29 Auction
One William Morgan Drive
New Location
Toronto, ON
Time 06:00PM
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AuctionZip Auctioneer ID# 22993
A.H. Wilkens will be holding our Asian Art Catalogue auction on Tuesday, october 29th at 6pm. The auction will begin with a single owner collection of chinese antiques.

Over 200 lots of Chinese and Japanese antiques from a Canadian, single-owner collection will be offered this fall at A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals. Held privately for 50 years, the core of the collection was acquired through a 1969 deaccession from the Royal Ontario Museum.


Many of the objects bear the original identification numbers from George Crofts’ purchases in China during the late 19th and early 20th century. Crofts, a fur trader, was instrumental in helping to build the prominent Chinese art and artifact collection at the Royal Ontario Museum from 1918 onwards, alongside archaeologist Charles Currelly, who was the museum's first director. During his travels to China, Crofts had access to shops, collections, and palace officials as a result of his connections through his fur-trading business. He carefully tracked, photographed, and numbered every piece shipped from China, resulting in a collection in excess of 6,000 objects throughout his career. The original photographs were bound in 21 albums and were donated to the ROM at the end of Crofts’ career in 1921. Today they are held in the Museum library and were referenced for this auction.


Crofts’ pieces can easily be identified from the heavy black inked four digit sequences, often found on pieces in this collection and on display in the Museum galleries. Further NA and NB number sequences are marked on many of the pieces, which are identified as ROM accession numbers attained while under the directorship of the University of Toronto prior to the 1960s. Some of these numbers provide additional identifying information, including the date of acquisition and how the funds were donated for the purchases. A final set of nine-digit numbers (beginning with 9) correspond to the current ROM numbers and can be identified in the collection for sale at A. H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals this fall.



In 1969, the ROM deaccessioned a portion of their collection, selling off duplicates and non-desirable items for the time, which helped to tighten their core holdings. This was completed with careful consideration under the direction of Peter Swan, whose primary mandate was to create space for the collection. The recent spike in the Chinese market and the collection’s 100-year provenance has allowed for these pieces to now become highly desirable.



The collection to be offered this fall features a number of porcelain pieces from the Ming and Qing dynasties, Ming lacquered wood Buddhas, and bronzes. The October 29th auction will be posted this fall for live and online bidding.



We are still accepting consignments.

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