Who has not dreamt of finding a hidden treasure or opening the door of an abandoned house to discover untold secrets and prized possessions? Philippe Abdeni, founder and CEO of www.bellamysworld.com will always remember the day he read about the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the emotions that this evoked in him. Just imagining the magical moment when on November 26, 1922, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon set their eyes on the intact tomb that contained over 5,398 exceptional objects and artifacts. It was the first time in over 3,300 years that the intact tomb was seen by mankind. That mere fact sparked legends of curses, further fueled by the news that several members of the expedition lost their lives in the months following the discovery.
Abdeni knew back then that his professional destiny was set. By creating Bellamysworld and becoming an art and antiques expert, he would continue his quest for rare emotions and he would be able to share them with others.
Thousands of antiques and artworks at Bellamysworld
Behind the interface of www.bellamysworld.com, is a vast collection of thousands of collectible items, artwork and antiques, hailing from all over the world. These charming collections patiently await to discover their final destination. Just like the tomb of Tutankhamun, each artwork, antique and collectible has a story to tell, a mystery to uncover. Some are brand new, others are a few centuries old. Some were part of a wider collection before coming apart. Just take a 2,500 year old Greek silver Tetra drachm coin, meeting with a magnificent 19th century Pleyel Harp, delicately sitting next to a futuristic Jorg Hysek fountain pen.
As we discovered the vast collections, we needed to know more about what goes on behind the scene and how these objects are collected. When asked, Abdeni’s eyes lit up, stating that:
“It is a global treasure hunt, a chase after art. Covering several continents, Bellamysworld receives numerous phone calls and emails from around the world regarding an item, a collection or an estate to be valued or sold. Furthermore, over the years, Bellamysworld has built a strong network of collaborators and contacts that allow it to be informed of any legends, tales, rumors, mysterious stories or even gossip related to abandoned houses, undiscovered treasures or sleeping collections. Most of the time, the inquiries and stories end there. But on rare occasions, with a bit of faith and luck, a story turns out to be for real and the treasure hunt begins. I recall a few years ago, we received a call from a client asking us to do an inventory and a valuation for the content of a house that has been closed for over 50 years. The request sounded intriguing and worth the visit. Little did we know what we would find…”
Bellamysworld discovers artistic treasures
Bellamysworld’s team was informed that an old Lady was living in a beautiful old house and her distant relatives were living abroad on another continent, having emigrated decades before. When this Lady died, the house died with her and was closed for nearly 50 years. It is only when her distant relative decided half a century later to sell their properties that he asked Bellamysworld to check out the possessions and evaluate all antiques and artworks of that house. It is impossible to describe the emotion one feels when opening the door of an old house for the first time after it has been closed for the past 50 years.
“As we stepped in,” remembers Abdeni, “time had stopped and apart from the dust, everything was still intact, in the same position as it was 50 years back. Right at the entrance, a pair of shining 18th century Chinese lacquered cabinets welcomed us while a splendid Napoleon gilded chandelier hung from the ceiling. The house had no less than 32 paintings, most of which were from old Masters. We could see artworks everywhere. Meissen porcelain, English sterling silver, Baccarat crystal ware, an exceptional Herend tableware set (a similar one was offered to Stalin and can be seen at the Museum of St Petersburg). The house was full of beautiful pieces and artwork perfectly preserved. Every drawer we opened, every room we discovered, and every cabinet we saw revealed secrets and surprises. The inventory of the house took not less than a week, the valuation process more than 3 months. I can still remember it as if it was yesterday,” shared Abdeni.
Hearing these stories of treasure hunts and discoveries was quite amazing and exciting. If an object could hold the memories and emotions it had witnessed over the years, one can only imagine what it must be like to live surrounded by all these artworks and objects. The Bellamysworld showroom told these stories on behalf of the artists, owners and long lost family members. I felt like staying for at least a week at Bellamysworld waiting for the next treasure hunt to start, but it was time to say goodbye at least for now and to thank my host for a fascinating and enlightening afternoon.