Sales record for a Koran sold for 730,000 euros in Lyon after sleeping in an attic for decades

Sales record for a Koran sold for 730,000 euros in Lyon after sleeping in an attic for decades
Sales record for a Koran sold for 730,000 euros in Lyon after sleeping in an attic for decades

The Lyon branch of the De Baecque auction house carried out a sale of several Korans and works of art purchased in Turkey between 1920 and 1940, recently found in an old trunk and finally sold for nearly 1.7 million euros .

Le Figaro Lyon

It’s the story of a trunk that had been sleeping in the attic of an old house for decades. A trunk that its owner’s great-niece recently discovered when she began emptying her house. Inside the dusty trunk, she comes across several Turkish Korans purchased at the beginning of the last century and Middle Eastern art objects brought back by her ancestor in his boxes after living in Turkey between the two world wars. Entrusted to the De Baecque auction house for appraisal, they have just been resold in Lyon for more than 1.5 million euros.

“It’s really the beautiful story, the dream that makes our profession beautiful, both in discovery and in sales”rejoiced Me Étienne De Baecque, auctioneer at the head of the eponymous house with the Figaro. Because if the experts consulted were quickly aware that they were dealing with objects of great value, including a Koran with particularly noble calligraphy, the bidding quickly soared at the Lyon branch of the auction house on this Monday, June 10 . Dating from the mid-19th century, the brown leather work, initially estimated at between 6,000 and 8,000 euros, was sold for 730,000 euros.

The work, dated 1866, was in a trunk brought back by the owner’s great-uncle who had lived in Turkey from 1920 to 1940.
Baecque House

This “beautiful, richly illuminated Ottoman Quran” shines with its “abundant arabesques and floral motifs”, “interlacing friezes and flowered cartouches” And “verses written in clouds on a golden background”. But it was above all the identity of its calligrapher which caused demand to explode. Presented as “one of the great calligraphers of his time”Kazasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi signed this work in Istanbul in 1216 after the Hegira, i.e. in 1866. He who signs as usual “the slave of the coat household”ends this Quran with various prayers, including one dedicated to Sultan Abdülaziz.

A unique piece and a possible record

Born in 1801 in Tosya, in northern Turkey, Mustafa Izzet arrived in Istanbul with his mother after the death of his father. There he attracted the attention of Sultan Mahmud II thanks to his perfect recitation of the Koran and integrated the teachings of the Palace. Trained by master Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet Efendi, he became one of the greatest calligraphers of his time. “It perhaps evokes less things in our Western culture but, in the Muslim world, it is a mythical object due to the personality of this calligrapher and the quality of his work”continues Me From Baecque.

Buyers were also jostling. And the initial estimate is quickly exceeded by deposits of several tens of thousands of euros. “We were aware of having a crazy object, of great value, the experts immediately told us that it was magnificent but in the art market estimates are based on references, but it is not there had never been such items sold”. The 730,000 euros paid by the buyer could constitute a record for a Koran in France.

During this same sale, a piece by another famous calligrapher dating from the 16the century was sold for 480,000 euros, for a total of 1,682,073 euros. Although the house does not have the right to reveal the identity of the lucky owners, the participants in the sale were, according to our information, originally from the Middle East and blessed with significant fortunes.


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