The Wall Street Journal offers a fairly succinct explanation for the weak Meiyintang sale in Hong Kong:
“The estimates were slightly incorrect,” said Stuart Marchant, a London-based dealer who attended the auction. “The market is clever. They know the prices. They’ve learned quite quickly.”
Still, there was interest in some of the other higher-priced items. A blue-and-white brush washer decorated with the painting of a fish pond sold for HK$45 million, at the lower end of the estimated HK$40 million to HK$60 million range.
And some collectors used the shy bidding to their own advantage.
“I picked up the first lot, and it was cheap,” said Lawrence Chan, a Hong Kong collector, who bought a pair of saucers decorated with a painting of a green peach. “This auction didn’t go crazy like the sales we just saw in New York or in the past. This is a very good collection, but the estimates were too aggressive.”
This may tell us something about Chinese collectors, namely, that they’re just like all other collectors and want to make their own ‘discoveries.’