Sotheby's HK$3.49b sale creates history

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 April, 2011, 12:00am


Sotheby's Hong Kong eight-day spring auction created history, netting a record HK$3.49 billion by its conclusion last night from sales of Asian art, fine Chinese paintings, ceramics, jewellery and wine.

The total take from the sale of about 3,400 lots in the auction house's first big sale of 2011 outdid the record-breaking HK$3.08 billion tally for its autumn sale last year.

Entering its final day yesterday, the auction had already notched up HK$2.62 billion.

The sale brought with it a wealth of surprises, further educating observers about trends in the Asian art-buying market.

One of the biggest surprises came from Thursday's sale of the Meiyintang collection of imperial Chinese porcelains that yielded uncharacteristically disappointing results, netting as it did only HK$399 million, half the pre-sale estimate, with 30 per cent of 77 lots unsold.

Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's international head of Chinese ceramic and works of art said: 'Twelve lots sold for more than HK$10 million. There was guarded bidding on some of the top lots.'

Some bidders held back after learning that that a new payment structure required them to deposit HK$8 million in advance and prove that they would be able to comply with Sotheby's 30-day payment period.

But private sales after the auction were lucrative with a Falangcai pheasant vase and a Chenghua palace bowl selling for an astonishing HK$200 million and HK$90 million respectively.

Aside from ceramics, the sale included the world auction record for a contemporary Chinese art piece with the sale of Zhang Xiaogang's triptych Forever Lasting Love (1987-1990) for HK$79 million, more than double its original estimated sale price.

Pricey porcelain

Private sales held after the auction proved to be highly lucrative with a Falangcai pheasant vase selling, in HK dollars, for: $200m