Tuesday - 21 October 2014

Pilot sale sheds light on what Chinese buyers like among Western chattels

30 April 2013Written by Roland Arkell

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 range.

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 China".

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.

Back to top