Monday, 8 October 2012

Fact of the Day: Auction Numbers

The Eagle and the Pine Tree
It's auction season in Hong Kong again and in the last few days top auction houses here are pulling in record amounts.

One of the latest entries is China Guardian and it raked in a whopping HK$354 million, more than three times the estimated HK$120 million. For sale were about 300 Chinese paintings and calligraphy.

The highlight was Zhang Daqian's Album of Mountains and Rivers that went under the hammer for HK$46 million, almost double the pre-sale estimate.

And then Xu Beihong's The Eagle and the Pine Tree completed in 1936 went for HK$21.275 million.

Meanwhile Sotheby's also set a record with HK$191.712 million for 20th century Chinese art and HK$117.189 million for Contemporary Asian art despite having one of its paintings also by Zhang pulled out at the last minute because of issue over its ownership.

While the amount of money bid by buyers is eye popping -- which makes you wonder where the money came from -- the most interesting part will be when the buyers actually pay up.

There have been a number of stories of buyers making outlandish bids but not showing the money afterwards.

Both auction houses are tooting their own horns about the amazing sales numbers, giving the impression the art market is as buoyant as ever, it's settling the accounts that really matters.

And that's when I'll believe those are record amounts.

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