Reuters has a quick recap of the Sotheby’s Hong Kong sales rightly noting that sales exceeded the auction house’s expectations with $168m in total sales, a number that was an 88% (how very Chinese!) over the Spring sales cycle:
Demand, as has traditionally been the case, was ferocious for the sprinkling of exceptional works cropping up in the sales, including a rare, Qing dynasty “zitan” emperor’s dragon throne which was sold to a Chinese buyer for $11.07 million.
Bloomberg‘s Le-Min Lim spotted the bidding and gives this report:
The final bid, which was seen to be made by the posse of Chinese stock-investor Liu Yiqian, is a record for Chinese furniture. Host Sotheby’s Asia Chief Executive Kevin Ching wouldn’t confirm Liu’s identity as buyer. Liu declined to comment.
“He got it at a bargain,” said Kevin Li, a Taiwanese antiques dealer, in an interview at the venue. “That item is so rare, it will easily resell for HK$200 million in a few years.”
Other highlights included a large blue-and-white Qianlong moonflask that fetched $5.1 million, a superb and rare Ming dynasty Chenghua bowl
“The Chinese (antiques) market is stronger than any other market, it’s going to keep going up, because it’s getting thinner on the ground and more people are buying it, especially in China,” said London-based Asian art dealer Nader Rasti.
The only problem with Reuters’s analysis is their mistaken emphasis on unsold lots. They point to a 57% sell-through on works of art and 77% sell-through on Chinese Contemporary as signs of weakness. But these are not at all bad numbers and in line with a stable market, not an overheated one.
Imperial Throne Fetches Record $11.1M at HK Sale (Bloomberg)