23/04/2013 News Stories & Press Release, Furniture & Rugs
Roseberys, together with a group of other UK auctioneers, made art market history on Sunday April 21 by mounting the first ever auction of Western antiques in a Chinese free port. Nothing like it has even been tackled before.
The 21 leading independent auctioneers, members of the Association of Accredited Auctioneers (Triple-A), had sent more than 350 lots of furniture, silver, paintings, prints and works of art from all parts of the UK, first for an exhibition in Beijing and then for the auction in Xiamen, in Fujian Province.
Roseberys sent out three members of staff to oversee the event and they worked closely with Chinese auction house Huachen Auctions to lay out the sale and advise clients about the history and quality of the lots. The BBC Antiques Roadshow and 19th century European furniture expert Christopher Payne accompanied the Roseberys team to give a series of lectures about the virtues of such furniture and especially that made by Francois Linke, a number of whose pieces Roseberys had consigned.
The sale was hugely well supported with around 150 Chinese collectors and dealers attending. Buying was selective. It raised almost £1 million, covering the cost of the project with about a quarter of the lots sold, but that was not point of the exercise.
Said Triple-A chairman Chris Ewbank: “Our member auctioneers participated in the sale to test the market and gauge the appetite Chinese collectors have for Western antiques and works of art. We have proved it is possible to achieve such a sale. Now we know what is wanted and what is not.
“For example, virtually every lot of antique English silver found buyers, while clocks, bronze figures and gilt bronze works of art raised some surprisingly high prices.
“There seemed to be a strong appetite for affordable mid-market pieces in the £500 to £10,000 range, as is the case in the West, while ‘novelty’ items were well received.
“Victorian furniture sold well, but 19th century French pieces in the £10,000 to £40,000 range were possibly too expensive for what is very much an emerging market. Interestingly, however, statement pieces and rare one-offs at the high end of estimates were in great demand.
“We anticipate some private sales in the days following the auction.”
The top value lots of the sale were consigned by Roseberys including the collection of 19th century French furniture by the Francois Linke. The highest achieving lot proved to be an important pair of Louis XVI style gilt bronze amboyna centre tables by Francois Linke, which sold for 2 million RMB (£200,000).
An Important Pair of Louis XVI Style Gilt Bronze Amboyna Centre Tables by Francois Linke, French, c. 1910
The next highest lot was a highly unusual Louis XV style gilt bronze mounted kingwood and marquetry writing desk and cartonnier, the clock dial signed Brindeau a Paris. It sold for 1.2 million RMB (£120,000), while a fine Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted marquetry commode after a model by Jean Henri Riesener sold for 1 million RMB (£100,000). Both were also consigned by Roseberys.
A Highly Unusual Louis XV Style Gilt Bronze Mounted Kingwood and Marquetry Writing Desk and Cartonnier, French, c. 1880
Biggest surprise was the 82,000 RMB (£8,200) paid for a pair of late 19th century bronze Marly horses after Guillaume Coustou the Elder, which had been estimated at 38,000-50,000 RMB.
The sale was a ground-breaking initiative by the recently formed Triple-A. It was conducted by the Chinese auctioneer Huachen Beijing Auctions Co Ltd. and promoted by EpaiLive Auction Co., the only on-line live bidding portal of its kind in China .
Triple-A is a not for profit organisation which aims to provide an easy channel for Chinese buyers to access the UK auction market and to provide solutions to the historic challenges to Chinese buyers at auction of language barriers, foreign currency payments, and shipping.
The Triple-A membership represents the highest level of standards and service in the profession, jealously guarding its accreditation standards with a rigid code of practice to which all members must adhere.
*Prices quoted do not include the 15% buyers’ premium.
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