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Chinese Scrolls, 36-Carat Diamonds Dominate Hong Kong Sale

Frederik Balfour BusinessWeek 11/30/2011 22:27
Chinese Scrolls, 36-Carat Diamonds Dominate Hong Kong Sale - Christie's - auction - Hong Kong

A pair of diamonds each weighing almost 36 carats and a set of Chinese scrolls led sales at a Christie’s International auction in Hong Kong last night.

Cui Ruzhuo’s eight-scroll sequence of lotus flowers painted this year in ink and color was the highest-selling lot, fetching HK$123.9 million ($15.9 million), or more than twice its HK$60 million top estimate. The unmounted D-color diamonds, sold separately for HK$64.5 million and HK$63.4 million to the same telephone bidder, were the highlights of a daylong HK$644.6 million jewelry sale, where 241 of 310 lots found buyers.

For most works, the cautious atmosphere seen earlier this week at wine and contemporary-art auctions again prevailed during yesterday’s bidding.

“In Beijing a credit crunch is on, and prices are coming to a more realistic level,” said Anthony Lin, a consultant on Chinese art. “That crazy insane level of top prices element is simmering down.”

The second-most-expensive work offered in the fine Chinese modern paintings sale failed to sell. It was an ink-and-color painting by 20th-century Chinese master Zhang Daqian with a presale estimate of HK$20 million to HK$40 million.

Another of his works with the same low estimate only found a buyer when bidding was reopened with a reduced reserve price. The painting, “Verdant Mountains and Layered Peaks After Rain,” sold for HK$21.9 million, including buyer’s premium.