Auctions attract connoisseurs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am


Art connoisseurs and collectors will be keen to check out Sotheby's Hong Kong Spring Sales 2012, which will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from tomorrow until April 4.

There are more than 2,900 lots, including fine Chinese ceramics, Chinese paintings, contemporary Asian art, 20th-century Chinese art, modern and contemporary Southeast Asian paintings, jewellery, watches and wines. The auctions are expected to reach in excess of HK$1.8 billion in sales.

Sotheby's Asia CEO Kevin Ching says: 'We are proud to open the spring auction season in Asia with an exciting series of sales. Of particular note, we will offer a Song dynasty washer from the fabled Ru kilns, the ultimate fantasy of collectors through the centuries. We are also very privileged to offer the third instalment of the Meiyintang Collection of Imperial Chinese Porcelains, the grandest collection of its kind in Europe.

'Among the exceptional paintings that we have collected, there is an abstract work by Zao Wou-ki entitled 25.06.86, as well as an early Bloodline - Big Family: Family No.2 by contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang. A dazzling 8.01-carat emerald-cut fancy vivid blue diamond and diamond ring will be the piece de resistance of our exceptional jewels.'

The exceptional jewellery selection promises an explosion of colours, featuring extremely rare blue and pink diamonds, Colombian emeralds, Burmese rubies and Kashmir sapphires of high quality, natural pearls and jadeite pieces.

Quek Chin Yeow, deputy chairman and head of the jewellery department at Sotheby's Asia, says one of the highlights is the 8.01ct emerald-cut fancy vivid blue diamond (about HK$90 million to HK$110 million). 'There has not been an emerald-cut diamond over 8 carats in the auction market for a number of years.'

Extremely rare, the emerald cut is highly sought-after in coloured diamonds and often denotes the best quality. Unlike certain cutting styles with a colour-enhancing effect on the stone, the emerald cut shows the diamond in its original form and is therefore applied only to top-quality diamonds of the best colour saturation.

He adds there are 'two fantastic vivid pink diamonds, including a 3.28ct gem of internally flawless clarity, which is an exceptionally rare occurrence'. Included in the sale is a group of Colombian emeralds, from a single 16.83ct cushion-shaped stone and a pair of 10ct-plus pendant earrings, to a classic emerald and diamond Harry Winston necklace and earrings.

Meanwhile, the sale of watches will be Sotheby's largest in the company's history in Asia, with more than 470 lots on offer.

Three highlights among the minute repeaters are from Patek Philippe. One is the rarest version of a recently discontinued reference, 3939J, a pink gold minute-repeating tourbillon wristwatch with enamel dial and Breguet numerals (about HK$2.8 million to HK$3.6 million).

Another is a 5079J yellow gold automatic minute-repeating wristwatch with 'cathedral' gongs and enamel dial (about HK$2.5 million to HK$3.8 million), that showcases masterful engineering behind this high complication. The third is a 5078P platinum automatic minute-repeating wristwatch with enamel dial (about HK$2.4 million to HK$3.2 million).

The sale will also include timepieces by independent master watchmakers, including two by Philippe Dufour. One is a pink gold two-train minute-repeating grade and petite sonnerie wristwatch with enamel dial, from about 2002 (about HK$2.2 million to HK$3.2 million). What makes this special is that there are only four pieces made and only one in pink gold.

Luxury can also be tasted in the form of wines. The trend of entire wine collections sold at auction continues with Sotheby's presenting its ninth single owner sale from 'The Classic Cellar From A Great American Collector'. The cellar features mostly bottles from Bordeaux with a number of top vintages including 1982, prestige cuvees Champagnes, such as Louis Roederer Cristal and Dom Perignon, and Californian wines

from Harlan Estate, Opus One and Joseph Phelps. The 350 lots are estimated to fetch HK$12.8 million to HK$18.3 million.

The second day of the wine sales will feature winery-direct finest and rarest wines from Chateau Angelus, Louis Roederer and Colgin Cellars. More than 800 lots will be on offer with an estimate of HK$28 million to HK$39 million.

Serena Sutcliffe, master of wine and international head of Sotheby's Wine, says the owners of Chateau Angelus present wines from 1985, while Champagnes include the 'almost frighteningly rare Cristal Rose [three magnums] from the house of Louis Roederer'. She adds the sales of Colgin wines are perfect for Asia. 'We realised during an in-depth tasting that we could not do this sale in a more suitable place than in Hong Kong, as Colgin wines go marvellously with Chinese food.'

Bordeaux wines continue to perform strongly at auction and highlights from the Bordeaux Winebank Collection are 12 bottles of 2000 Cheval Blanc, six of the 2005 Chateau Petrus and a dozen bottles of 2001 Chateau Yquem.