Art: Silver Standard

London's auctioneers thought they had seen the ultimate in auctions a year ago, when a Rubens brought $770,000. But there seems no end to the art-market boom, or limits to its surprises. Last week Sotheby's put up for sale a 168-piece silver service that had never been shown outside Berkeley Castle. It is the work of the great French Silversmith Jacques Roettiers and part of it was probably ordered by the third Earl of Berkeley for the 21st birthday of his son in 1737. Rare and beautiful as it surely is, it fetched a price that astonished even astonishment-proof...

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