The Economist looks closer at Sotheby’s Hong Kong sale and tells us that the sale might not have been a record for overall volume but it does represent a stronger market than the previous peak in 2007.
Indeed, a closer look at the two sales reveals just how much this market has evolved in the past 18 months. […] Long forbidden by the Chinese Communist regime to buy or trade national art works, newly wealthy Chinese have been keen to dip their toes into the art market now that the rules have been relaxed. And dip they have. In recent months, Chinese television stations, such as CCTV, Phoenix and Beijing Television, have made a point of broadcasting programmes that discuss art, auctions and art investments. “Buying art is making the headlines all the time in China,” says Mr Chow, “and this, no doubt, encourages the wealthy elite to enter the art market.”
[ . . . ] A Qing Dynasty imperial pearl court necklace that would hardly have caught any serious collector’s eye a decade ago, fetched HK$67.9m, more than five times the high estimate. A white-jade seal dated from 1796, the last year of the Emperor Qianlong’s reign, set a new world record. Sold at auction less than two years ago for HK$46.2m against an estimate of HK$15m, it was estimated this time at HK$50m, only to earn HK$95.9m.
Hong Kong Highs (Economist)