Bloomberg reports that Sotheby’s has been asked not to auction one of the world’s most valuable pieces of Chinese porcelain but sell it privately instead. Since the $30+ million work comes from Stephen Zuellig’s Meiyintang collection, which has been aggressively sold by Sotheby’s in the past, the decision is a signal that the auction house’s private sales facilities are becoming as efficient as their public auctions:
“He changed his mind; he doesn’t want it going everywhere and shown in every country and every city,” Eskenazi, who has helped the collector place pieces with Sotheby’s before, said today when reached by phone in London. “He wants Sotheby’s to find the right client without hundreds of people handling it.” […]
The cup, made for the Chenghua emperor (1465-1487) is considered the most rare of Chinese ceramics and was likely to set an auction record, according to the Sotheby’s press release.
It has been nicknamed the “Chicken Cup” as it depicts a rooster, his hen and their chicks, an allegorical representation of the emperor, the empress and their subjects.