Bloomberg prognosticates on Christie’s Hong Kong week of sales beginning today:
Christie’s International’s Asia President Andy Foster says the company’s Hong Kong art auction that starts this weekend will feature “the finest selection in years” of antiques, paintings and gems. Top collectors like Robert Chang agree — but say they probably won’t buy.
“Market conditions are bad,” said Chang, the doyen of Hong Kong’s Chinese antiques, who set an auction record for a Qing Dynasty ceramic in 2006 with his sale of an imperial bowl for HK$151.3 million ($19.5 million). “These are quality lots, but whether they can sell in this climate is anyone’s guess.”
Christie’s, the biggest art auction house in Hong Kong, will offer 2,500 artworks, antiques and gems over five days that it expects to fetch HK$1.75 billion.
“I feel confident we have done our best to show what a fine collection we have; it’s now up to the market to respond,” said Foster in an interview. “We are in the middle of a downturn, so it’s hard to predict what the results would be.”
Foster said Christie’s has convinced some sellers to lower the reserve price on their lots to speed sale, though the only way for buyers to find these bargains is to turn up for the auctions. He aims for at least half the lots to find new owners.
The five-day sale begins on Saturday evening with an auction of Chateau Latour wines. Top lots feature at the contemporary-art evening sale on Nov. 30 and the antique auction on Dec. 3 [ . . . ]
Lu Feifei, a Shanghai-based art dealer who bought Emperor Qianlong’s jade-hilted saber-and-scabbard for HK$59 million and his parade armor for HK$14 million at Sotheby’s October auction, said he hasn’t got any orders from clients to buy at Christie’s auction and has no plans yet to make purchases of his own.
“Everyone is affected by the current mood in the market,” said Lu, 31. “It may be a tough auction; people are cutting out what they can do without.”