Imperial Vase, Lafite Lure Millionaires to $310 Million Hong Kong Auction

"Mask Series No. 4" by Zeng Fanzhi, is estimated to fetch as much as $1.3 million in a Hong Kong sale, as part of the Ullen Collection offered on April 3. "Mask Series No. 4" by Zeng Fanzhi, is estimated to fetch as much as $1.3 million in a Hong Kong sale, as part of the Ullen Collection offered on April 3. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

China’s growing ranks of millionaires are set to buoy sales at Sotheby’s (BID) spring auction in Hong Kong as collectors seek Qing Dynasty porcelain, Chateau Lafite wines and multi-million-dollar paintings.

The event may bring in as much as HK$2.4 billion ($310 million), said the New York-based auction house. The eight-day marathon, from tomorrow to April 8, features two private European collections of ceramics and contemporary art, including an 18th-century Chinese vase worth more than $23 million.

“The rarest, most important and finest work is this Falangcai vase,” Giuseppe Eskenazi, one of the world’s foremost Chinese art dealers, said. “This is good if not finer than what’s in the Beijing Palace Museum as well as in Taiwan in the National Palace Museum.”

Hong Kong’s first major sale of the year will show that rising wealth in China is continuing to drive demand, dealers said. It has 3,600 lots, about 1,000 more than last April’s auction in the city, which took a record HK$2.29 billion and revived prices in most categories to pre-credit-crisis levels. China overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest auction market for fine art last year, according to research company Artprice, benefiting from the support of its government in Beijing.

The “Golden Pheasant” vase was one of the personal objects belonging to the Qianlong emperor. It goes on sale on April 7 as the highlight of the Meiyintang collection of 80 works that is estimated to fetch as much as HK$940 million.

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