A major new marketplace or simply a case of wishful thinking? That was the question as the Association of Accredited Auctioneers (Triple-A) and their Beijing-based partners, Huachen Auctions, held a much-heralded auction in south east China.
With marketing support from Chinese online
bidding portal Epailive, Triple-A had overcame substantial
administrative and logistical hurdles to conduct the first-ever
auction of Western antiques in a Chinese free porton April 21.
The aim was to shed light on what domestic
buyers would stomach - in terms of both taste and price - when it
comes to Western chattels. Would the sale herald the embryonic
moments of a major new marketplace for English and Continental
furnishings or suggest a case of wishful thinking?
It was no surprise that bidding for this
cross-section of Western taste and collecting disciplines was
highly selective - roughly three-quarters of the 360 lots were
unsold - but the results included some surprisingly high prices for
mid-market English and Continental chattels in the £500 to £10,000
This small Edwardian mahogany centre table
painted with musical trophies and floral swags was not untypical,
selling to a Chinese internet bidder for RMB35,000 (£3725).
"There seemed to be a strong appetite for affordable mid-market
pieces in the £500 to £10,000 range," said Triple-A chairman Chris
Ewbank. He described the venture as an unqualified success and one
that "has shown us clearly where our future emphasis should be in