Ivory and Rhino-Horn Trove From TV's Storage Wars to Star in California Auction, March 5-6

Mar 01, 2011, 09:39 ET from Don Presley Auctions

ORANGE, Calif., March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The biggest hit to emerge from this season's roster of antiques-related TV shows is an unpretentious dark horse that quickly overshadowed a field of glossier contenders. Each week the rough-hewn but addictive reality show Storage Wars pits four veteran buyers against each other as they bid "blindly" on the contents of storage units whose rent has gone unpaid. Sometimes the winning bidder ends up with worthless junk that goes straight to the dumpster; other times the contents are of considerable value and end up in high-profile auctions – like the trove of Chinese antiques to be auctioned March 5-6 at Don Presley's gallery in Orange, California.  

Presley, who has conducted on-air appraisals for Storage Wars, received the Asian consignment from David Hester, whom he jokingly describes as the "villain" among the regulars appearing on A & E's popular Wednesday night show. Hester's storage-locker find includes an extensive selection of Chinese ivory necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants; as well as objects made from rhino and buffalo horn. Their collective value is estimated at $10,000.

"David was not even sure that what he had was ivory, but when he brought it in for an appraisal, I told him he had hit a home run," Presley said. "Whoever owned the antiques in that storage locker obviously bought a lot of ivory as well as horn of various types, but they may not have known that what they had was rhino horn, which is rare and very valuable."

Upon receiving the Hester consignment, Presley set about gathering additional Chinese antiques from private estates in Beverly Hills – a turf he knows well. From one upscale estate, he received a 5-1/2-inch rhino-horn libation cup with carvings of rabbits, estimated at $15,000-$25,000; and a rhino-horn snuff bottle, encased in silver and decorated with carved lions, complete with a curved ivory snuff dipper. Add to that a 19th-century carved ivory bust of a crowned deity, a sizable selection of carved ivory figures of Immortals and a Thousand-Hands Bodhisattva, and "an auction inventory was born," Presley said.

Chinese antiques are the hottest thing going, said Presley, but it's not just an Asian sale he's planning. "Southern California estates are endlessly surprising and never understated," he said. "We're also selling a 22-lb. carved emerald, Tiffany glass and a 2005 Bentley."

Online: www.donpresleyauction.com

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