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Thursday, 26 September 2013 18:50

Christie’s Holds First Auction in Mainland China

Christie’s held its first auction in Mainland China on Thursday, September 26, 2013. The sale included 39 paintings, sculpture, jewelry, watches and wine and garnered $24.9 million. A ruby and diamond necklace, which sold for $2.9 million was the top lot but failed to reach its high estimate of $4.6 million.

The modest sale marked the first time that an international auction house has been allowed to independently hold an auction in China. Christie’s received its license to conduct auctions in China in April and agreed not to sell any “cultural relics” dated before 1949 when the Communist Party took power.

China’s art market continues to grow at a rapid pace, making it an ideal location for international auction houses. The sale of art and antiques in China garnered $13.7 billion in 2012, making it the second largest market in the world behind the United States. The country’s strong buyer base has been active in Christie’s global auction centers in New York, London, Hong Kong, and Paris. In fact, the number of clients from Mainland China bidding at Christie’s international auctions has doubled since 2008. Christie’s presence in Shanghai will allow the auction house to sell directly to China’s growing number of wealthy buyers.  

China’s auction market is currently dominated by the country’s own Beijing Poly International and China Guardian. Sotheby’s joined forces with the state-owned Beijing GeHua Cultural Development Group last year to hold auctions in China. Sotheby’s own 80% of its venture with Beijing Gehua.

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