Record Set at Hong Kong Wine Auction
Art and dinosaurs may not be moving at auction, but in a tough market, you can count on people drinking. Sotheby's nearly sold out its entire auction in Hong Kong Saturday, raking in HK$61.5 million (US$7.9 million) from 1,010 lots offered. Only five lots failed to find a home at the auction – and they were later sold privately. The result obliterated the presale estimate of HK$47.8 million.
Much of the action came because prices were relatively low, but there was plenty of room for upward movement. A 6-liter bottle of Chateau Petrus 1982 sold for HK$726,000 (US$94,000), setting a record. The buyer opted to remain anonymous.
A mere 1 percent of the lots went to buyers who were not Asian. Mainland Chinese were responsible for most of the buying, followed by bidders from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Hong Kong has carved out a place for itself at the top of the international wine auction market and is now providing competition to New York and London. Sotheby's and Christie's have been holding auctions in Hong Kong since February 2008, when the government nixed duties on wine.
The wine auction kicked off a week of gavel-pounding for Sotheby's, preceding a five-day auction of art and gems consisting of 2,300 lots. The estimate for the festivities is HK$780 million.