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
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.