Bloomberg’s Hanny Wan reports from the Classical Chinese paintings sale at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong that doubled the high estimate. The market had a circus atmosphere with the top lot being bid upon and bought by a small boy acting at the direction of an adult. The top ten lots all went to Asian private buyers. Some of those buyers were shopping in bulk:
Nine of the top 10 lots were by Fu, Zhang Daqian or Qi Baishi, including Qi’s “Green Old Age,” that sold to Bao Mingshan, a Suzhou, China-based businessman for HK$11.3 million, including buyer’s commission. Bao bid against Sotheby’s Ching who was representing a client on the telephone and who dropped out after declining to raise his offer to HK$9.4 million because the number “four” isn’t auspicious in Chinese. The picture was one of five Bao bought for a total of more than HK$30 million.
“Thirty million dollars is nothing,” said Bao, wearing a lilac Kappa polo shirt and accompanied by a woman from a Beijing auction house. “I bought even more at the spring auction.”
Mainland Chinese buyers are feeling their oats and enjoying the sport of the sales:
One woman wearing a red sapphire ring and carrying a Chanel bowler handbag on her lap, bought Lin Fengmian’s “Lady Holding a Lotus” for HK$2.9 million including buyer’s premium, compared with its high estimate of HK$1.8 million. After she won, her iPhone, in a Louis Vuitton monogram cover, rang. She turned to the woman next to her after taking the call and jokingly said: “My husband just called. I said I didn’t buy anything.”