Asian art auctions in NY exceed estimates

Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:58pm EDT
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By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Asian art auctions this week totaled nearly $50 million, including $3.3 million for an ancient wine vessel that set a new record at Christie's for an item sold to an online buyer.

The vessel dating from the 12th or 11th century BC was the top seller at Christie's where the week-long sales fetched more than $20 million, far exceeding pre-sale estimates.

Sotheby's said their total was more than $27 million.

"This week's sale saw enthusiastic bidding and strong prices across a range of different categories from porcelain and jades, to furniture and paintings," said Dr. Caroline Schulten, Sotheby's head of Chinese works of art.

"Collectors from around the world often raised the bidding to multiples of the high estimate in order to secure the very best works," said added in a statement.

A Christie's spokesman said their online record for the wine vessel adorned with a dragon surpassed the previous record for an item sold in an online sale in 2008 when $1.27 million was paid for a Stradivari violin.

Theow H. Tow, the deputy chairman of Christie's America, said the small vessel still had "residual millet wine solidified in the bottom."

Christie's next highest selling piece, a ritual food vessel from the 10th century BC changed hands for nearly $3 million.   Continued...