Asian Market Losing Steam???

Just back from the AAA conference and Art Law Day at NYU.  Had a wonderful time, and both conference and the art law programs were interesting and educational.  More on the presentations over the next few days.

Just saw a short article in the Telegraph by Colin Gleadell on some of the London Asia sales.  The interesting comment is at the end of the post, where he mentions many higher valued lots were bought in.

Gleadell reports

A little jostling is going on between Bonhams and Christie’s as to who did best in London’s Asian art sales. Christie’s claims pole position for Chinese antiques with £28 million, which is incontestable. But Bonhams gets the higher figure for the week at £31 million by virtue of a record £4.6 million million sale of Japanese art. Bonhams also claimed the top price of the week with a £9 million Chinese vase, but Christie’s might claim the biggest surprise. In its South Kensington sale, a tiny ivory stamp with a carved lion handle, described as 19th or 20th century, had been bought by a British collector in Hong Kong in the 1940’s, and was estimated at £3,000. Imagine the owner’s face when it sold for £646,000. The figures must be satisfying for Bonhams’ Asian art head, Colin Sheaf, who left Christie’s to work for Phillips (before it became Bonhams) over ten years ago. When he did, Christie’s staff were said to have thrown darts at a picture of him in their office. Maybe they are doing that again now. Overall, though, some steam has gone out of the Chinese market as many of the higher valued lots went unsold.

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