An auction on July 6th put together with the express purpose of catching many collectors’ eyes is gearing up to be a one-of-a-kind. Ranging from the 16th to the 19th centuries, works in the sale, to be held at Sotheby’s,span the entire range of the decorative arts from porcelain to silver, snuff boxes to furniture to name just a few.

Mario Tavella, Sotheby’s deputy chairman Europe, who spearheaded the sale, described what first triggered the idea: ‘Someone asked me once: what makes something a treasure? I thought about it…. In my world, the world of objects, a treasure would be something which is not only beautiful, precious, rare and hidden, but which also tells a captivating story.

‘These are the kind of pieces that provoke an almost visceral reaction when we look at them. It truck me that, in the general course of life, encounters with real treasures happen all too rarely. And so I made it my job to set about finding them. Now, with this sale, we have 21 works of art to which I feel the term treasure can justly apply. It is more than many might hope to see in one place in a lifetime.’

* For more news stories like this every week subscribe and save

Pieces include a table gifted into the Medici family in the 1600s; a wine cooler as ‘large as a small bathing tub’ thought to be one of the most important pieces of English silver to come to market in 50 years; a pair of porcelain vases selected by Nicholas I of Russia and three elegant folding stools commissioned by Marie Antoinette.

The entire contents of the sale will be displayed at Sotheby’s new Bond Street from July 3 until July 6 when the sale will take place. For further information log onto the Sothebys webpage about the sale.