Imperial Vase, Lafite Lure Millionaires to $310 Million Sale

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Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

An 18th-century Chinese imperial vase was the planned highlight of the Meiyintang collection of 80 works. It was estimated at more than $23 million and sold privately after the Hong Kong auction.

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Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

An 18th-century Chinese imperial vase was the planned highlight of the Meiyintang collection of 80 works. It was estimated at more than $23 million and sold privately after the Hong Kong auction. Close

An 18th-century Chinese imperial vase was the planned highlight of the Meiyintang collection of 80 works. It was... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

"The Rietveld-Schroeder House at Nightfall" by Liu Ye is in the Contemporary Asian Art sale at Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 4, estimated at $770,000. It fetched $1 million. Close

"The Rietveld-Schroeder House at Nightfall" by Liu Ye is in the Contemporary Asian Art sale at Sotheby's Hong Kong on... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Two bottles of Chateau Margaux from 1995 and 1996 were estimated to sell for as much as $10,000 each in Hong Kong. The 5-Imperial size bottles are part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized by Sotheby's. Close

Two bottles of Chateau Margaux from 1995 and 1996 were estimated to sell for as much as $10,000 each in Hong Kong.... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

A jadeite bead necklace, for sale at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 6, is estimated at $4.5 million. Close

A jadeite bead necklace, for sale at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 6, is estimated at $4.5 million.

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion 1989. Eight 12-bottle cases of the wine were part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized by Sotheby's. Each case was estimated to fetch as much as $18,000. The lot fetched HK$193,600 with buyer's premium. Close

Bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion 1989. Eight 12-bottle cases of the wine were part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

"Mask Series No. 4" by Zeng Fanzhi, is estimated to fetch as much as $1.3 million in a Hong Kong sale, as part of the Ullens Collection. It sold for HK$16.9 million ($2.2 million). Close

"Mask Series No. 4" by Zeng Fanzhi, is estimated to fetch as much as $1.3 million in a Hong Kong sale, as part of the... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Two bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000 were part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized by Sotheby's. The 5-Jeroboam size lot was estimated at $12,000 and 6-Imperial size lot at $18,000. The lots fetched HK$145,200. Close

Two bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000 were part of the Classic Cellar Sale organized by Sotheby's. The... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

A 1988 triptych, "Forever Lasting Love" by Zhang Xiaogang, sold for HK$79 million ($10.1 million) in Hong Kong. The work, estimated to fetch as much as $3.8 million, was included in the Ullens Collection sale on April 3. Close

A 1988 triptych, "Forever Lasting Love" by Zhang Xiaogang, sold for HK$79 million ($10.1 million) in Hong Kong. The... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Bottles of Romanee Conti, a rare red Burgundy, with vintages dating from 1964 to 1985. The wine is estimated to bring $160,000 for a case of 11. Close

Bottles of Romanee Conti, a rare red Burgundy, with vintages dating from 1964 to 1985. The wine is estimated to bring... Read More

Source: Smothery's via Bloomberg

A pair of Harry Winston diamond pendant earrings, for sale at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 6. The earrings total 36.48 carats and are estimated at $4.8 million. Close

A pair of Harry Winston diamond pendant earrings, for sale at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 6. The earrings total... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

Bottles of white Bordeaux and Burgundy. The Haut-Brion Blanc 1989, and Montrachet Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1990, may fetch respectively $25,000 to $50,000 a case. Close

Bottles of white Bordeaux and Burgundy. The Haut-Brion Blanc 1989, and Montrachet Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1990,... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

A Patek Philippe platinum watch is estimated to sell for $700,000 in Hong Kong on April 7. The Tourbillon watch features a minute repeating retrograde perpetual calendar. Close

A Patek Philippe platinum watch is estimated to sell for $700,000 in Hong Kong on April 7. The Tourbillon watch... Read More

China’s growing ranks of millionaires are set to buoy sales at Sotheby’s (BID) spring auction in Hong Kong as collectors seek Qing Dynasty porcelain, Chateau Lafite wines and multi-million-dollar paintings.

The event may bring in as much as HK$2.4 billion ($310 million), said the New York-based auction house. The eight-day marathon, from tomorrow to April 8, features two private European collections of ceramics and contemporary art, including an 18th-century Chinese vase worth more than $23 million.

“The rarest, most important and finest work is this Falangcai vase,” Giuseppe Eskenazi, one of the world’s foremost Chinese art dealers, said. “This is good if not finer than what’s in the Beijing Palace Museum as well as in Taiwan in the National Palace Museum.”

Hong Kong’s first major sale of the year will show that rising wealth in China is continuing to drive demand, dealers said. It has 3,600 lots, about 1,000 more than last April’s auction in the city, which took a record HK$2.29 billion and revived prices in most categories to pre-credit-crisis levels. China overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest auction market for fine art last year, according to research company Artprice, benefiting from the support of its government in Beijing.

The “Golden Pheasant” vase was one of the personal objects belonging to the Qianlong emperor. It goes on sale on April 7 as the highlight of the Meiyintang collection of 80 works that is estimated to fetch as much as HK$940 million.

Zuellig’s Collection

Meiyintang, which means hall among rose beds, contains 450 items assembled over the past six decades by Stephen Zuellig, a Swiss businessman whose family made its fortune distributing pharmaceuticals.

His collection provides an overview of the history of Chinese ceramics from their origins in the Neolithic period to the end of China’s Imperial reign in the Qing dynasty in 1911. The lots represent about 25 percent of the collection, said Eskenazi, who helped select the pieces for auction.

The demand for Qianlong artworks was shown on March 22 when a vase with a Qianlong stamp sold in New York for $18 million. On March 26, a scroll painting fetched 22.1 million euros ($31 million) in France. In November, a Qianlong vase fetched 51.6 million pounds (then $83.2 million) at a Bainbridges sale on the outskirts of London.

On April 3, an evening auction will offer 106 works of Chinese contemporary art from Guy Ullens, founder of Beijing’s largest private art museum, estimated to raise $16.7 million.

Zhang Xiaogang

“This is a landmark sale with works by leading figures, including Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi and Liu Xiaodong,” said Magnus Renfrew, director of Hong Kong International Art Fair.

Xiaogang’s triptych “Forever Lasting Love” is estimated to fetch as much as $3.8 million.

Not everyone is happy about the Ullens sale.

“This is an important collection and it is a shame it is being broken up,” said Claire Hsu, executive director of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong. “It belongs in a public museum.”

The growing ranks of Chinese cork sniffers are expected to lift prices at wine sales from April 1-3. Hong Kong eclipsed the U.S. in 2010 as the No. 1 wine auction market, based on research by the Wine Spectator Magazine. Sales in the former U.K. colony were $165 million, 40 percent of the global total.

“There’s an auction fever that is almost contagious,” said Jeannie Cho Lee, a Master of Wine. “The buyers are more and more mainland Chinese. Iconic brands seem to sell better because brand is especially important where there is a culture of giving and the importance of face.”

Bordeaux, Burgundies

Mainland buyers are particularly keen on the best-known estates including Bordeaux from Chateau Lafite. Among Burgundies, a case of Romanee Conti 1990 may fetch $240,000.

Other sales include Chinese scroll paintings, jewelry, watches, and for the first time, an auction of works to raise money and awareness for Clean Air Network, a non-governmental organization focusing on Hong Kong’s air quality.

It features about 40 artworks -- including a pair of diseased lungs made of fiberglass, rice and car paint -- displayed alongside “shocking facts about air pollution and health,” CAN’s Chief Executive Joanne Ooi said.

China had 447,000 millionaires in 2009, a 31 percent increase from the year before, according to a report by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch & Co., ranking it behind the U.S., Japan and Germany.

Buyer’s premium, the commission added to the hammer price of works sold, is 25 percent for the first HK$400,000, 20 percent for lots fetching as much as HK$8 million, and 12 percent above that. The wine premium is a flat 21 percent.

Potential buyers who aren’t represented at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre sale can bid via Sotheby’s online bidding system.

To contact the writer on the story: Frederik Balfour in Hong Kong at fbalfour@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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