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Hong Kong takes pole position in auction world

Hong Kong is becoming more and more important in the international auction world, with Acker Merrall & Condit leading the field, and Sotheby’s claiming the region is its most important wine centre.

As the 2009 season draws to a close, Acker is outdistancing its competitors there, realising US$21.3m from four live auctions and one internet-only auction.

China figures large in Acker’s priorities – in 2010 it plans six or seven live auctions in New York and six live in Hong Kong.

Rival auction house Zachys’ four 2009 Hong Kong sales grossed US$18.8m.

Sotheby’s three Hong Kong sales grossed US$14.3m. It plans four sales there in 2010, ‘though depending on demand that number could increase,’ it said.

After Sotheby’s 3-4 October auction, where 99% of the buyers were Asians, Serena Sutclife, head of the international wine department said, ‘Hong Kong has become Sotheby’s most important wine centre, ahead of very successful

auctions in New York and London.’

Christie’s sole 2009 sale to date generated US$4.06m. A second sale is to take place on 28 November. The 374 lots are valued in excess of US$5.2m.

Dates for 2010 sales have not yet been established, but typically they take place in May and November. The sales involve live and online bidding.

Bonhams held ‘a very intimate’ auction of 90 lots in May, selling all of them and generating US$261,931.

The next sale, on 27 November, features 512 lots, high-estimated at US$2,147,435.

  • On Monday night, 228 bottles of 1982 Lafite worth US$877,000 were stolen by thieves who bound and gagged a warehouse guard in the city’s New Territories sector.

    While collectors have snapped up Lafite at auctions, counterfeiters have filled retail shelves with ersatz versions. Members of the wine trade say Hong Kong has more 1982 Lafite than Bordeaux produced that year.

    New video: How to Analyse Colour, with Steven Spurrier

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    Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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