Beware of Chinese bearing bids?

September 28 2011

Image of Beware of Chinese bearing bids?

Picture: Daily Mail

The problem of Asian art buyers bidding to high levels and then not paying appears to have worsened. The most famous example is the £43m bid for the vase (above) found in North London. Now, Sotheby's and Christie's have introduced special measures for anyone interested in their 'premium lots'. From the Art Newspaper:

Bidders on these high-priced lots (over $500,000 in the US, over $1m in Hong Kong) are only allowed to go for them after registering their interest in advance and paying a deposit. They can’t bid online. The reason? There have been a number of cases of Chinese buyers defaulting on auction purchases, and Sotheby’s inaugurated this system in Hong Kong in 2007—before the aborted sale of two bronze Zodiac heads at Christie’s Yves St Laurent sale in Paris in 2009.

This autumn, Sotheby’s New York’s auction of Chinese works of art on 14 September included five “premium lots”; four failed. Only a Northern Wei votive stele found a buyer at just over $1m (est $500,000-$800,000), going to Eskenazi. But the stars of the sale, two archaic bronzes (one estimated at $2.5m-$3m) and two pairs of 17th-century Huanghuali chairs (estimated at up to $1.5m) were bought in.

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