Popular comics to join auction treasures

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 April, 2008, 12:00am

Cartoonist Alfonso Wong Kar-hei's Old Master Q work will be auctioned in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the first comics to be auctioned by Sotheby's in Asia.

Two lots of rare works from Wong's early career - which include eight comics featuring Old Master Q, one of the best-loved and enduring Chinese cartoon characters, and his close friends Big Potato and Mr Qin - will be presented.

Four are black and white, with an estimated value of HK$60,000 to HK$80,000. The other four coloured illustrations were used as covers in the 1970s and are expected to fetch HK$80,000 to HK$100,000.

Wong's humorous stories reflect the trends and changes of Hong Kong from the 1960s to the 1980s, when the city's economy was booming. His comics have been translated into various languages and more than 100 million copies have been enjoyed around the world.

His works, together with 1,700 items of Chinese and Southeast Asian classical, modern and contemporary paintings, jewellery and watches, can be previewed until Monday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The auction, with an estimated value of more than HK$1.5 billion, will be held from Tuesday to Friday.

Sotheby's expects the auction to draw about 800 buyers from around the world.

The sale will also feature the painting Take The Plunge, by Yue Minjun, whose work Execution was auctioned last year for HK$48 million. Drawings by Zhang Xiaogang, the first Chinese contemporary artist to break the US$1 million mark, and Guo Bochuan will also be presented.

Other highlights include some of the rarest imperial gold works from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the largest pear-shaped flawless diamond to appear at an auction in Asia.

Weighing in at 72.22 carats, the gem is expected to go for HK$78 million to HK$100 million.

Christie's is showcasing impressionist and contemporary masterpieces at the Grand Hyatt's salons until today.