Either we have good eyes or are doomed to choose things we cannot afford: Just like the case of George Henry Hall’s still life or John Enneking’s landscape, the Chinese inky-blue porcelain vase from QianLong Period at Doyle , “conservatively” estimated between $2000 to $3000, was sold far above estimate (see previous post for photo and video). This time it was way above—selling for $550,000 plus premium.
The auction started at 10 a.m. this morning with a standing-room only crowd. Approximately 60% in the room were Asian, not a surprise given the items were largely Chinese. Lot 139 sold for $590,000, but it wouldn’t be the last to top half-a-million that hour. The room became tense as buyers move things along by blurting out prices $100,000 or more beyond the words of the auctioneer. The auctioning of lot 174, proved to be equally tense. Competitors were holding phones while bidding, perhaps representing some buyers in China. (It was almost 1 a.m. in China at that time.) After a tense battle, competitor succeeded the prize, which went to a floor bidder for $550,000 plus premium.
The sale was astonishingly successful considering unemplyment is near ten percent and Wall Street is still more than 30 percent off highs. I can’t be certain, but I suspect its testament to good provenance, the stronger Chinese economy, weak dollar and a desire to bring antiquities that are the pride of quickly changing nation home.