Bonhams have released their sales figures for 2013, with the company claiming third place in the global hierarchy after Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
released by the Conseil des Ventes, France's auction watchdog, list
Chinese auction houses China Guardian and Poly, as well as US
saleroom Heritage, as having higher totals. However, Bonhams say
that the Conseil has got its figures wrong.
straightforward terms, the Conseil lists Heritage as having the
fifth highest total with €662m in sales, with Bonhams next at
€661m, but Bonhams say their totals are €677m, which would put them
China Guardian total is listed as €796m and that of Poly as €795m.
However, Bonhams say that settlement rates - how much is actually
paid for - should be taken into account as they are so low in
Poly admit to a
settlement rate of 55%, which would put their total at around
€437m. Although China Guardian are not thought to have revealed
their settlement rate, the latest TEFAF report puts the average
rate in mainland China at 56% - almost exactly that of Poly - which
would mean China Guardian's rate would have to be close to that. If
so, total actual sales would be around €446m.
Bonhams report a
settlement rate for their global sales at more than 99%.
rates can skew results further. For instance, the Conseil lists
Sotheby's as having taken €4.05bn in sales for 2013, while exchange
rates used in Sotheby's own release last month would put that
figure closer to €4.76bn.
A gap of close
to three quarters of a billion euros in reported totals simply
based on using different exchange rates is less than helpful when
trying to gauge comparative performances of rivals on the global
As the TEFAF report shows, with global totals almost back at the
2007 record levels, there is a great deal to play for, so
sensitivity over results is likely to run deep whichever auction
house you work for.
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