Auction - Prized snuff bottles collection coming up at Bonhams

On 28 May, Bonhams Hong Kong will offer 141 Chinese snuff bottles from the Mary and George Bloch Collection, widely considered as one of the best in private hands. The total sale is expected to achieve in excess of HK$40 million.
Snuff, a fine powder of dried tobacco often mixed with herbs and spices such as camphor, jasmine and mint, was first introduced to China from Europe in the 17th century.
But European snuff boxes were not suitable to the local climate, where the high humidity tended to cake the powder, so the Chinese started to use small, corked bottles.
These were first made of bronze during the Shunzhi period (1644-61) but more sophisticated materials like enamel, jade and ivory came into use in the Kangxi period (1662-1722). Values for the best snuff bottles have increased rapidly over the past decade prices, up fourfold. One bottle recently sold at auction for over $800,000. Bonhams has arranged international previews of the Bloch Collection in New York, Taipei, and Singapore prior to the preview and auction in Hong Kong. A second sale of snuff bottles from the Bloch Collection will be held in Hong Kong later this year.