Published: March 22, 2011
America’s oldest auction house Freeman’s realized more than $4.7 million in its spring fine and decorative Asian arts auction on Saturday, March 19. With a packed gallery and 15-plus phone lines, the competition was heated for the most prized item of the day, the large and important Chinese blue and white Ming-style vase, which ultimately sold for $1.385 million to an in-room bidder from mainland China.
Nearly identical examples sold in both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong within the past three years, for escalating prices, topping out at $750,000 †that is, until Saturday.
“With the market still expanding, we were pleased, but not surprised to see our example of this iconic vase set the record for price realized at auction,” said Rob Waterhouse, Freeman’s vice president and head of the Asian arts division, said. Waterhouse was also the auctioneer for the vase.
The Ming-style vase was not the only piece from the auction to outshine predicted values. Another Qianlong period vase, carved from jade, consigned by the same owner, sold for $421,000. The fine and rare Chinese archaistic jade vase was heavily contested for, receiving bids online, over the phone and also in the room.
“We couldn’t be happier. It proves that Philadelphia is an international hub, and that Freeman’s can produce results meeting and exceeding our competitors for choice pieces. It’s thrilling to be a part of an auction like this,” Freeman’s Chairman Samuel M. “Beau” Freeman II, said.
A full report on the sale will appear in a future edition.
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