American auction houses’ autumn-winter season has opened with a bang, especially in Hong Kong.
Their high-volume sales leave a strong impression that the doldrums and reduced prices of late 2008 and early 2009 may be history.
The principal indication of the rebound is everyone’s high sell-through rates and the return of top – in some instances, record-breaking – prices for blue-chip wines and less-stellar attractions.
When Zachys held its fourth auction in Hong Kong, on 12 September, it found buyers for 100% of its offerings, realizing US$4,923,091.
Similarly, Acker Merrall & Condit depleted its entire catalogue – more than 8,300 bottles – in Hong Kong on 19 September, with a take of US$6.4m.
John Kapon, the president and auction director, said the sale was ‘a clear indication that the wine auction market has bounced back significantly.’
Kapon added, ‘We are looking forward to our first exclusively Hong Kong Internet-only auction to take place in the second half of October, which we consider an important step in continuing to expand our presence in Hong Kong.’
In New York, Acker managed to sell 100% of its consignments on 9 September, bringing in US$2,516,806, exceeding it’s book’s total high estimate.
In Chicago on 12 September Hart Davis Hart disposed of 100% of its lots, producing US$3,268,791 in revenue, well beyond the catalogue’s pre-auction high projection of US$2,753,360.
That same day in New York, Christie’s reported 97% of its lots sold for takings of US$2,645,430.
Edward Roberts International, a small Chicago house, offered 217 lots on 20 September, selling 84% of them.
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Written by Howard G Goldberg