'How not to bid at auction: being careful is fine - but don't miss out'


Another week, another World Record price.... this time at a sale of imperial ceramics which brought $72m at Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Among the sale's highlights was an early Ming cobalt blue Meiping (a type of Chinese pottery vase) which brought a World Record $21.6m.

While successes like this are happening in the collectibles markets, the European stock markets endured one of its worst quarterly declines of the past decade.

That happened in the past three months. Yet, in collectibles, the World Record prices just keep on coming.

Not that the worlds of collectibles and mainstream investments are as separate as you may think. Indeed, the Meiyintang collection - a unique and respected assemblage of Chinese porcelain - sold at Sotheby's was originally collected by Swiss tycoons.

These businessmen, the Zuellig brothers, collected for nearly half a century. Sotheby's sale was the first time the collection has ever appeared - and you can bet the brothers knew they were on to a good thing.

That said, some of the sale's lots didn't sell. Among them was a golden pheasant vase which failed to find a buyer.

Why was this - especially with such strong bidding for other items?

Porcelain Ming Dynasty vase

In contrast to the ups and downs of mainstream investments,
treasures like this Ming Dynasty vase are bringing financial
benefits to savvy collectors

"I think many people were worried what would happen before the sales," Nader Rasti, an Asian art dealer, was quoted as saying.

In other words, perhaps buyers undervalued what was on offer - and were over cautious.

As you'll know if you regularly read this column, it can be a thin line between being reasonably cautious and missing out on great opportunities.

As a result, while some collectors benefitted from treasures like the early Ming cobalt blue Meiping, people missed out on other great buyers like the golden pheasant vase.

Nevertheless, the successes in Sotheby's sale - considered a key indicator of the Asian art market - spelled a bright present and future for Asian art.

According to reports, bids in the auction room were steady, irrespective of plunges in the global stock markets.

So, while bidders missed out on some of the trinkets offered in Sotheby's sale, make sure that you don't miss out on future opportunities in the Asian art markets.

Find out more about how you can benefit from buying these collectibles by viewing our special investment pages.

Or contact our experts for a free consultation at:

+44 (0) 117 933 9500


All the best, until next week




Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock