Could Macau Trump Hong Kong’s Art Market Status? – artmarketblog.com

macau auctions song dynasty plate2 297x300 Could Macau Trump Hong Kongs Art Market Status?   artmarketblog.comA globally renowned gamblers paradise and tourism hotspot, Macau is emerging as a key destination for the sale of antiques and fine art thanks to an increase in the number of tourists and an incredibly strong gaming industry.  The only place in China where gambling is legal, Macau retained its status as the gambling capital of the world with 2011 gaming venue of $33.5 billion.

To put the revenue achieved by casinos in Macau into perspective, Macau’s  2011 gaming revenue total exceeded the combined casino revenues produced by the top 20 U.S. commercial casino markets in 2010 and is five times the revenue produced by Las Vegas casinos.

Recent auction results from the two big Macau auction houses – Macau Chung Shun International Auctions Co.,Ltd and Macau Long Hei International Auction Co., Ltd – suggest that the former Portugese colony could soon challenge the auction revenue of antique and art auctions in Hong Kong and even mainland China.

Chinese art website artron.net recently published a list of the top ten Chinese art auctioneers by turnover for 2012 which ranked Macau Chung Shun International Auctions Co.,Ltd 5th with a turnover of RMB 183,748 million behind Beijing Poly, China Guardian, Christe’s Hong Kong and Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Macao Long Hei International Auction Co., Ltd was ranked tenth with a turnover of RMB 48,671 million.

What makes the 5th place achieved by Macau Chung Shun Auctions is the fact that they achieved this ranking with only one auction whereas Beijing Poly needed 53 auctions to achieve their first place. Ranked 10th in 2011 with a turnover of RMB 177,151 million over 3 auctions, Macau Chung Shun is clearly an auction house worth watching.

The high turnover of Macau Chung Shun Auctions has been aided somewhat by a few extraordinary prices for individual achieved over the past year. Ranked by Artron as the top price achieved for an item sold by a Chinese art auction house, a Ming Dynasty blue and white jar with the design of nine dragons achieved a price of RMB 897,552,000 (HKD 1,104,000,000) against an estimate of HKD 300,000,000 during the Macau Chung Shun 2012 Spring Auction held on the 3rd of June.

Also sold at auction by Macau Chung Shun on the third of June was a green glazed Song Dynasty plate from the official kiln which sold for RMB 106,584,300 (HKD 131,100,000) against an estimate of HKD 50,000,000-80,000,000 – the ninth highest price achieved for an item sold by a Chinese art auction house in 2012.

Although some have expressed doubt that the prices achieved by Macau Chung Shun are genuine, there is no solid evidence to suggest that they are not genuine.

Having achieved such high prices for antiques, there appears to be the potential for strong prices to be achieved for fine art at Macau art auctions in the near future – that is, if the figures can be believed.

**Nicholas Forrest is a Sydney/London based art market analyst, art consultant and writer.  He is the founder of the Art Market Blog (artmarketblog.com) which offers independent commentaries as well as research and analysis on the current art market, and has recently been published in Fabrik magazine, Verve magazine, Visual Art Beat magazine, Australian Art Collector magazine, Art & Investment magazine and many others.  Nic has made several radio appearances (both nationally and internationally) as an art market expert and has received press from the likes of the New York Times, Conde Nast Portfolio and Times of London.

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