Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn recaps London’s Asian Art Week and tries to suggest that the market for Chinese Works of Art is cooling. But his evidence suggests otherwise. The London auctions made £57.4m up from £37.4m which is a 50% increase. Although 44% of the lots in these sales failed to find buyers, that number is consistent with most auctions of Chinese Works of Art which have much lower sell-through rates:
Sotheby’s, Christie’s International and Bonhams offered a bumper crop of 1,695 Chinese lots at their main salesrooms as part of the 14th annual Asian Art in London event. […] 44 percent of the material was rejected. The equivalent sales last November raised 37.4 million pounds.
The international trade in Chinese art is worth at least $10 billion a year, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Reyburn also collected tales of picky buyers and credit constraints from private dealers who may indeed be seeing a slowdown:
During the first week of the event that ends on Nov. 12, Chinese buyers snapped up all but two of the 14 pieces from a collection of 17th-century huanghuali wood furniture exhibited by Mayfair dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi. The collection had been acquired in the 1990s and prices ranged from $60,000 to more than $1 million, said the gallery.
Berwald sold a rare Han dynasty terracotta of a long- sleeved dancer to a U.S. collector for a price between 200,000 pounds and 300,000 pounds.