Amid the frenzy of Chinese Ceramics sales around the world, the Meiyintang collection was meant to be an inflection point in the global market. Instead, the sale marked one of the few slow moments in Sotheby’s exceptional Hong Kong sale cycle.
Several theories have been advanced for the sale’s weakness. At Artelligence last week, Michael Plummer of Artvest Partners explained that the consignor seemed to have mixed feelings about selling imposing estimates and reserve prices that cooled the market.
Previously, Sotheby’s system of Premium Lots was said to be a disincentive to bidding. Georgina Adam makes an additional, and overlooked, point in her Financial Times column:
Estimates were on the high side but the true reason is more likely to be a change in buyers’ tastes. The Meiyintang pieces were exquisite but understated, perhaps not as flashy as new money buyers want. That being said, a single buyer bought eight of the monochrome lots.
Art Market: Beware of Buyers (Financial Times)