Published: April 26, 2011
On March 12 and 13, Clars Auction Gallery hosted its monthly two-day sale of antiques, arts and furnishings. Anticipated to be a strong sale across the board, it was not anticipated that one of the Asian lots would account for more than 10 percent of the sale’s $900,000 gross.
Anyone tracking Asian antiques buying at auctions around the world is not unfamiliar with prices escalating, a trend that has been developing over the past year. Clars has seen this grow steadily in its own sales, with an increased number of Internet and phone bidders from both mainland China and Taiwan.
“Astonishing” was the word Redge Martin, president of Clars, used, however, to describe the prices realized on the firm’s Asian lots in this sale. While non-Asian offerings, like a Georg Jensen sterling flatware set, which sold for $18,960 and a Continental Gothic Revival tall case clock, which earned $10,000, were all solidly within estimate, the Asian pieces went beyond over-the-top.
Expected to sell for $1,500 on the high side was a well-carved Chinese celadon jade oval plaque measuring just 6 inches high. “There was absolutely no reason to expect this piece to do what it did,” said Martin. Even Clars expert Asian specialists could not believe it when the price escalated in heated bidding to an “astonishing” final selling price of $94,800, going to a Taiwanese collector. Sixty times its high estimate †that might be a new record for Clars.
And the trend continued throughout the sale. An Asian celadon glazed porcelain jardinière on a footed wood stand, measuring 14 inches high, came to the sale with an estimate of $500․1,000. Going for a mere 14 times its high estimate, it sold for $14,220. This was followed almost immediately by a set of eight Chinese tinted ivory figural carvings of the Eight Daoist immortals, which brought $18,960.
To date for its fiscal year, Clars Auction Gallery is more than 50 percent ahead of this time last year, with Asian results contributing substantially to these numbers. “While we have always been strong in the Asian category,” commented Martin, “it’s astonishing how it keeps increasing. It’s not just Clars,” he further stated, “this trend is happening at many auction houses around the world. We will just keep watching how this category continues to develop.”
Back to the non-Asian offering in the sale, jewelry also performed very well, with a 2.07-carat brilliant-cut diamond ring selling for $15,405 and a demantoid garnets by the yard chain necklace earning $10,665.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For information, 888-339-7600 or www.clars.com .
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