New figures from Sotheby's indicate that high worth individuals in Asia and around the world are growing increasingly attracted by alternative investments.
The auction house has announced it increased its global first quarter revenue by 17% to $119.6m in 2011.
The $2.4m net income contrasts sharply with the $2.2m net loss reported during the same period last year and is possible evidence of a growing demand for fine art and other items among high worth individuals looking to expand their investment portfolios.
Sales are again approaching the peak levels witnessed between 2006 and 2008 before the economic crisis, with total sales up 31% on last year.
Hong Kong figures are particularly impressive, with April sales up 75% on 2010, a sign of the growing financial capabilities and desire for the best pieces among Asian investors.
"This is one of our best first quarters on record," commented Sotheby's president and CEO Bill Ruprecht.
"Our Hong Kong sales have been a major contributor, bringing a record total of $447m, near the high end of the pre-sale estimate and showing the depth and breadth of wealth in that region."
A collection of fine Chinese paintings will go under the hammer at Sotheby's Hong Kong at the end of the month.