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World record at Bonhams Hong Kong for Yixing masterpieces collection at HK$52M (4.1M GBP)
The two top lots of the sale, lots 119 and 120, created double excitement with each making HK$10,360,000 (823,908 GBP), taking them way above their pre-sale estimate of HK$4,500,000 (357,835 GBP) and HK$3,500,000 (278,347 GBP) respectively. Photo: Bonhams.
HONG KONG.- Bonhams sales in Hong Kong this week turned an auction room into a Chinese tea party. The exceptional Yixing Stoneware teapots and scholar’s objects from Mr & Mrs Jimmy Sha Collection saw unprecedented prices at auction in Hong Kong, selling after several rounds of applause for a total of HK$52,382,500 (4,165,864 GBP).

The two top lots of the sale, lots 119 and 120, created double excitement with each making HK$10,360,000 (823,908 GBP), taking them way above their pre-sale estimate of HK$4,500,000 (357,835 GBP) and HK$3,500,000 (278,347 GBP) respectively. Both were made by Gu Jingzhou (1915-1996), the most outstanding Yixing potter of the 20th century in China. Lot 119 is a modern inscribed and carved teapot, while lot 120 is a modern ‘stone-spoon’ teapot and cover.

The Masterpieces of Yixing Stoneware from the Mr & Mrs Jimmy Sha Collection consists of 22 pieces of Yixing stoneware teapots and scholar’s objects of the most extraordinary quality that have ever appeared at auction in Hong Kong before. The exquisite and scholarly taste of the connoisseur is reflected in this meticulous yet careful selection of Yixing stoneware that were not only commissioned by the Chinese Emperor but also jointly crafted by famous potters and eminent scholars of the Qing dynasty and the 20th century. Colin Sheaf, Chairman of Bonhams Asia, said: “Following very popular preview exhibitions in Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Singapore, the exceptional quality of this private collection resulted in unprecedented prices for masterworks of the potter’s craft. It is particularly remarkable that in this very esoteric sector of collecting in Chinese ceramics, the two most expensive lots today were actually made within the last 70 years. Respect for outstanding technical ability even applies to 20th century craftsmen in China.”

The Bonhams Hong Kong series of Autumn 2013 Auctions comprised nine sales covering Fine & Rare Wines, Cognac & Whisky; Leica and Classic Cameras; Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art; Fine Jewellery & Jadeite; Modern Wristwatches, Clocks and Fine Writing Instruments; Fine Chinese Paintings: Classical, Modern & Contemporary Ink; The Speelman Collection of Chinese ‘Imperial Tribute’ Snuff Boxes; Masterpieces of Yixing Stoneware from the Mr and Mrs Jimmy Sha Collection; and Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. After four days of auctioneering, with large audiences at most sales and strong results in every sector, Bonhams announced a sale total in excess of HK$220 million.

The audience did a double take during the Leica and Classic Camera Sale when two Leica cameras each made HK$4,840,000 (384,915 GBP). The extraordinarily rare Leica Luxus II made in 1932 had been discovered some years ago on the famous British BBC ‘Antiques Roadshow’. It had been brought in by a man who had paid a fairly nominal amount for it and his family was more than delighted by the world record price it made. The other camera which achieved the same price was a rare Leica Luxus I made in 1930.

Given the ongoing success of the Hong Kong sales, and its year-on-year growth during its seven years trading in Hong Kong, Bonhams’ decision to create an auction business in Asia eminently justifies the major expansion. The company next year will include new and larger offices in Hong Kong, an expanded network of regional offices, and the addition of experienced specialist staff in Hong Kong to boost the most important departments as a response to the increasing demand from clients around the region. The new office in Pacific Place is a particularly visible sign of Bonhams’ long term commitment to the Asian region as the work is being designed by the same architect Alex Lifschutz who has recently completed the major 30 million GBP (HK$377 million) rebuild of Bonhams New Bond Street headquarters in London.





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