Melted down, a gold Ming Dynasty bowl would sell for about $30,000, twice as much as four years ago. At a Hong Kong auction next month, the imperial vessel may fetch more than HK$60 million ($7.7 million), Sotheby’s said.
Inscribed with dragons and set with pearls, turquoise, rubies and sapphires, the three-legged vessel — made with 1.3 kilograms of 18K gold — is the highlight of Sotheby’s auction of more than 25 gold and precious-metal objects in Hong Kong on April 11, the New York-based auction house said. The lots may raise a combined HK$100 million, said Sotheby’s.[...]
“Timing couldn’t be better,” said Tian Kai, a Beijing- based art dealer. “Gold is all the rage right now.”
Sotheby’s Hong Kong was offered the consignment in mid- January, days before the cut-off date for assembling lots for the auction, said Nicolas Chow, the auction house’s head of Chinese ceramics and artworks. He declined to identify the seller. Several European and Asian private collectors have inquired about the consignment.
“Gold is the most comprehensive marker of luxury in ancient cultures, including the Ming Dynasty,” said Chow. “If fine porcelain from these eras could fetch record prices, there is no reason art made with costlier material couldn’t fare better.”
The record for a Qing ceramic was set in November 2006 when Hong Kong businesswoman Alice Cheng paid HK$151.3 million for a porcelain bowl at a Christie’s International auction. Several private collectors, including casino magnate Stanley Ho, have bought imperial artifacts at auction and donated them to China in the past few years. [...]
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To contact the reporters on this story: Le-Min Lim in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org