While other auction houses have been sweating over subdued bidding and unsold lots, the smaller but more nimble firm Bonhams has proved to be more upbeat about its prospects this autumn. The company kicked off their week-long auction schedule with a private dinner, attended by Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Yvonne Choi Ying-pik, at Island Shangri-La's Harbour Room on Monday night and the hammer started falling yesterday for the fine and rare wines auction. The artworks, jewellery and watches follow today and tomorrow. So far, things are looking, well, up. At the dinner's silent charity auction, all 14 lots of fine wine sold above their estimates, raising more than HK$213,000 for wine education scholarships. According to Bonhams managing director Carson Chan (pictured with Choi), at times like these, people need to sell, so more items are available, prices are down and there's no better time to buy. 'I think people are much more careful of what they put their money into so people are considering alternative investments. Having said that, I think you have to have a level of passion for the items,' Chan said. 'Now is the best time to get into the market. Everyone says they're going to buy low and sell high. Well, consigners [sellers] are more willing to part with their collections and they're more realistic with price. Now is when the serious and passionate buyers go into the market. Think how many people said they wished they had bought an apartment back in 2003 during Sars? But when you're in it, not too many are daring enough to go do it.' The auctions are at Island Shangri-La's Harbour Room if you're thinking of entering some bids.