The first event in Sotheby’s Hong Kong sale cycle this week was the increasingly important sale of wines. Wine may not be an indicator of interest in art, but it is a reference point on whether wealthy Asians are willing to spend. Clearly, according to Bloomberg, they are:
All but five of the 1,010 lots offered over the weekend sold at auction, fetching a combined HK$61.5 million, compared with host Sotheby’s presale estimate of HK$47.8 million. The last five lots were sold privately after the auction, said Sotheby’s spokeswoman Rhonda Yung.[…]
“The lots were priced rather low, probably to attract buyers,” said George Tong, a Hong Kong-based toy-factory owner and wine collector who said he has a 5,000-bottle cellar. […] Hong Kong is rivaling New York and London as a hub for fine wines as locals and mainland Chinese show their penchant for top-grade vintages, especially rare Bordeaux, by paying a premium for them. Sotheby’s and Christie’s International began holding wine sales in the city months after the government abolished duties on the drink in February 2008.
At the weekend’s auction, only one in 100 lots was bought by non-Asians, said Yung.