Splurge on vintage collectibles at India’s first online auction house AstaGuru
Based out of Kala Ghoda in Mumbai, AstaGuru Auction House has an impressive curation of art, jewellery, timepieces, rare books, and vintage cars.
Saturday December 24, 2022,
4 min Read
In the age of DIY furniture, it is rare to find timeless pieces. And what’s a better destination to source vintage pieces than an auction house? Thanks to digitisation, you can now buy rare, one-of-a-kind art pieces at the click of a button.
India’s first online-only premium auction house AstaGuru was conceptualised in 2008. Based out of Mumbai's cultural hub, Kala Ghoda, AstaGuru Auction House was established, “to create a safe and secure platform to conduct online auctions,” says Siddhanth Shetty, VP (Business Strategy and Operations) at AstaGuru, in a conversation with YS Life.
Primarily dealing in modern and contemporary Indian art, AstaGuru found its roots in Mumbai due to the city’s rich history in formalising Indian art with the establishment of the JJ School of Art.
AstaGuru’s website and mobile application enables bidders to follow and participate in real-time auctions, from the comfort of their homes. Besides helping collectors discover and acquire art, it also helps them sell rare antiquities.
Expanding its offerings beyond modern and contemporary Indian art, AstaGuru’s portfolio now includes art, jewellery, fine silver, timepieces, textiles, celebrity memorabilia, rare books, numismatic, and philately.
Bringing the best under one roof
YS Life asked Siddhanth how the auction house manages to source the art. He explained that AstaGuru has two approaches to source the items—one where the auction house identifies the artwork that it wants to showcase; and second, where interested sellers approach the platform.
“In both approaches, the whole process is conducted by undertaking several steps such as condition check, arriving at a valuation, and manually agreed terms, conducting research on provenance, and exhibition history before presenting the artwork in an auction,” Siddhanth reveals.
AstaGuru has an impressive curation of artwork by eminent artists including Jeram Patel, MF Husain, Manjit Bawa, Badri Narayan, Paritosh Sen, HA Gade, Nandalal Bose, Ganesh Pyne, Ramkinkar Baij, Antonio Xavier Trindade, K Laxma Goud, Meera Mukherjee, and Paritosh Sen.
“Apart from modern Indian art, we also curate auctions showcasing works from leading contemporary artists from India and Southeast Asia,” Siddhanth adds.
While several factors–the vintage of work and relevance and importance of the artist, for a modern art auction– Collector’s Choice, bidding starts at Rs 20,000. The highest price achieved for an art piece, by AstaGuru so far, has been a 1973’s painting by Indian painter Tyeb Mehta’. “The artwork was sold for Rs 25,29,41,062,” Siddhanth says.
“It belongs to Tyeb Mehta’s Diagonal series which marked a complete shift in his style and creative approach. It enabled him to accentuate the technical possibilities in terms of colour, form and space. The discovery of the Diagonal, and its implementation liberated his expressionist work style. He abandoned the impasto technique and began painting with a flat dimensional approach, which included geometric perspectives. Based on this technical trait, he continued to create for the rest of his illustrious practice,” Siddhanth explains.
This rare ruby red Persian floor chandelier is over a hundred years old. The column, base bowl and receiver bowl are hand painted with floral motifs. The winning bid for this antique piece was Rs 22,73,015.
This bajuband or armband is set with old cut diamonds and calibre cut natural Burmese rubies in an Art Deco chevron design. According to AstaGuru experts, it is rare to find a traditional Indian armband in an Art Deco style. This was auctioned for Rs 1,33,35,023.
A 18K white gold annual calendar Patek Philippe watch with green leather strap and white gold double fold clasp was auctioned for Rs 35,06,580.
More than a hundred years old, this painting by MV Dhurandhar is under process to be registered as an antique with the Government of India. The winning bid for this oil on canvas painting was Rs 4,81,54,249.
Property from the Estate of Muncherji N Cama, this porcelain Japanese Imari jar with lid was auctioned for Rs 17,07,750.
In 2018, AstaGuru became the first Indian auction house to present an exclusive edition for vintage and classic cars. It launched ‘Opulent Collectibles’ auction in January 2021 to offer fine antiques, furniture and other collectables. More recently, in November, it launched its first standalone auction, ‘International Iconic,’ dedicated exclusively to international artists.
(All the auctioned prices mentioned above include a 15% margin charged by AstaGuru.)
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti