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Growing Chinese interest in Asian art at Winchester auction house
12:15pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in Hampshire Business
ANDREW SMITH & Son’s September sale at Itchen Stoke demonstrated the current strength of the market for collectables and confirmed that the Chinese market remains buoyant.
During the three preview days, the auctioneers noted the strong presence of Chinese bidders logged on to their “live” bidding service, with a staggering 600 bidders involved, resulting in some dramatic bidding battles throughout the sale days, September 10-11.
Consigned from various private individuals, the 100-strong lots of Asian art appealed at all levels, the best price being achieved for a 34 cm tall cloisonné vase, of 18th century origin, in fine condition, selling for £31,000, smashing its £1,000-1,500 estimate.
Two similar bronze censers, just 17 cm in diameter, also appealed, but despite their similarity sold for very different sums – £6,200 and £3,800 – following a notable trend for these objects.
Andrew Smith & Son previously sold a larger bronze censer for £12,800 earlier this year and have since attracted many more into their salerooms, all finding new homes at considerable sums as the market continues to demand these once commonplace objects.
Chinese porcelain contributed to the overall success of this section, with standard 18th century blue and white vases, despite many being damaged and cut down at the necks, selling for up to £3,200.
Rarer still and equally appealing are late 18th or early 19th century tribal weapons.
Carved from roots and hardwoods, amongst the most desirable are weapons – clubs, spears, etc, so the single item offered attracted much specialist attention.
This was a Tongan war club, an “apa’apai”, well carved with figures, turtles and geometric designs. It carried an estimate of £3,000-5,000, but was hotly pursued to a final £9,000 after much international attention.
Longcase or “grandfather” clocks have fallen from favour over the past decade, with many standard eight-day versions selling for a mere £300-500 across the country. However, anything unusual commands a high price.
Of the six clocks included in this sale, just one stood out, an impressive mid-18th century version in a bold but tasteful walnut case, the unusual movement by Thompson of Whitehaven, which eventually sold for £7,800.
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