Saturday, 21 October 2017

Hong Kong’s Subdued Spring Auction Sales: Too Few Good Lots or Too Many Auction Houses? By Enid Tsui

China’s ultra-rich are still buying luxury homes in Hong Kong and the Hang Seng index is up 16 per cent so far this year. So why is the local auctions market so subdued?

The second round of spring auctions was held over the last week of May and almost all the major auction houses reported flat or lower results compared with last year’s – just as Sotheby’s and Poly Auction reported lacklustre sales in April when they had their spring sales.

On May 31, a celadon-glazed “double dragon” amphora from the Qing dynasty reign of Emperor Yongzheng was sold for HK$140.5 million, becoming the most expensive monochrome Chinese porcelain sold in auctions.

Christie’s also sold Zhang Daqian’s Ancient Temples Amidst Clouds (1965) for a whopping HK$102.5 million in a single-lot sale with its own catalogue. But it’s a far cry from the HK$270.7 million that Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian paid for Zhang’s Peach Blossom Spring (1982), another of his splashed-ink landscapes, a year ago.

Beijing’s crackdown on corrupt officials has probably had an impact, for they, or their bribers, definitely bought through auctions. But capital controls should also have made a dent in the luxury property market and other sectors popular with Chinese investors.
“I don’t think they have much of an effect on the sale of high-value lots in auctions,” said William Chak Kin-man, a veteran antiques dealer based in Hollywood Road. “The ultra-rich have so many assets outside the country they cannot be affected. I think it’s because there are too many mediocre lots in the sales. When something really good appears on the market, people are happy to pay for it.”
Guillaume Cerutti, new chief executive officer at Christie’s, told the Post that he expected the situation to improve this year.
Bonhams, which has become more low-profile these days, saw quite lively bidding at its recent sales of Chinese paintings and works of art, he said.
“The real problem for auction houses is competition,” Chak said. “Thirty auction houses were active during so-called Asia Week in Hong Kong this month. Last year, it was 20. The market is being stretched thinner. I think collectors will appreciate having more time to look around and not feel quite so pressurised.”

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Our Featured Items for Oct - Nov 2017

Dear readers,

Below are our featured items for Oct - Nov 2017. Please feel free to drop by if you happen to be in the area.

Venue: Naik Antiques and Oriental Gifts

Address: 111M, Jln SS21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling                   Jaya, Selangor

For further inquiries, please feel free to contact May at 018 3867939.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Chinese Ru-ware Bowl Sets $38m Auction Record in Hong Kong

A 1,000-year-old bowl from China's Song Dynasty has sold at auction in Hong Kong for almost US$38m (£28m) - a record for Chinese porcelain.
Sotheby's, the auction house, said the rare Ru-ware brush-washer sold after 20 minutes of tense bidding from a handful of phone bidders, and one in the room.
The little piece measures 13cm (5in) across and is glazed in a blue-green colour.
The bowl's buyer has chosen to remain anonymous.
Bidding began at around $10.2m, and the winning offer - from a phone bidder - was greeted with a round of applause.
Sotheby's head of Chinese Art, Nicolas Chow, called the dish "extraordinarily rare".
"We didn't expect quite that price but we knew there was going to be a fight," he said. "Every time there is a piece of Ru-ware, which is an extremely unusual occurrence, there's always a battle, because it is the most talked about, the most celebrated of all wares in the history of Chinese ceramics.
"Most forged as well - I mean, I receive almost on a daily basis emails saying: 'Oh, I've got a piece of Ru-ware, etc.' But actually there are only four pieces of heirloom Ru-ware [that] exist in private hands."
The bowl's sale trumped the previous $36m record set in 2014 by a Ming Dynasty wine cup, which was bought by financier Liu Yiqian.
Mr Liu, a one-time taxi driver, is one of China's wealthiest men - and its most high-profile art collector.