WHEN ART AUCTIONEERS Sotheby's tallied up the takings after the final hammer fell on October 30, $260 million had changed hands. Sighs of relief were heard around the Shangri-La ballroom from those expecting a damp squib after the New York terrorist attacks. The highest bid was for a string of 93 translucent jadeite beads, which went for $16.5 million to an undisclosed private collector. Shipping magnate, and Iceland's Consul, Anthony Hardy compared notes with art consultant Sandra Walters, as film director (Peony Pavilion) Yonfan chatted to Sotheby's China and Southeast Asia boss Henry Howard-Sneyd. Alisan's Alice King and Walters kept up their end of the conversation with the London-based Asian Art Newspaper's scribe Hilary Binks. Meanwhile, Walter Cheah of Sotheby's Malaysia and Ming furniture collector Grace Wu Bruce marvelled at the pieces on display.