Bloomberg‘s Le-min Lin covers the final ceramics sale in Christie’s HK Asia Week. Itmade $41.6 m with a substantial number of the lots sold (the usual sell through for ceramics is in the 50+% range.) The most valuable lot was a pair of gilt bronze bells that make $5.9m. Lim asks the pertinent question about Christie’s successful Hong Kong sales, who bought?
Mainland Chinese bidders, who bought most of the priciest paintings, wine and gems at this auction, turned out in force for today’s ceramics sale, though few bid. Top mainland Chinese buyers at previous auctions, like Lu and Wu Qun, were spotted in the audience. Neither bid for the top lots.
Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art Ltd., a London-based company which advises clients on art purchases, bought the bells and the second-priciest item, a blue-and-white dragon vase, for HK$30.9 million. James Hennessy, who heads the company, declined to comment in person and over the telephone.
The most active Asian bidders in the salesroom spoke mostly Cantonese or Putonghua with a Taiwanese accent and scribbled traditional Chinese characters in their brochures, suggesting they are either from Hong Kong or Taiwan. Mainland Chinese write using simplified Chinese script.
Reuters says much of the same thing but differently:
Richard Littleton, the New York-based dealer who bought the ritual bells after fending off stiff bidding from an Asian rival said the market for Chinese imperial artwork was improving.
“The market gets stronger and stronger. There’s more and more Chinese getting involved. Look at the room, 90 percent were Chinese,” he told Reuters.