Sotheby's Hong Kong Autumn Sale Series Achieves a Running Total of HK$3.5 Billion / US$446 Million | The Highest Autumn Total in Four Years

Hong Kong
Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Sale Series
Achieves a Running Total of HK$3.5 Billion / US$446 Million 
*The Highest Autumn Total in Four Years* 

Sales Still in Progress

The Williamson Pink Star Leads the Season 
Achieving a Record HK$453.2 Million / US$58 Million
*Auction Record Price Per Carat for Any Diamond or Gemstone*

Strong Participation from Millennial & Gen Z Collectors
Contributes to Exceptional Sell-Through Rate of 87%

We are very proud to conclude our Fall marquee series with a robust sales total, newly established records and a reinvigorated momentum in Chinese art thanks to truly unique private collections.
Nathan Drahi, Managing Director, Sotheby's Asia

Hong Kong, 11 October 2022 - Sotheby’s Hong Kong 2022 Autumn Sales Series has already achieved a running total of HK$3.5 billion / US$446 million - the highest autumn total since 2018, and with a further three sales still to go.

Statics at a Glance:

  • 87% of the lots found buyers, while the Modern & Contemporary Series alone achieved a sell-through rate of 93% 
  • 45% of the lots sold across eight days achieved prices in excess of their high estimates
  • 9 auction records set (see below) 
  • Sales attract strong participation from Millennial and Gen Z collectors, accounting for almost 30% of buyers
  • Global bidding from 62 countries, with strong participation from Greater China, the US and UK
  • Three-quarters of the lots sold were bought online
  • The number of bidders participating in person increased by 54% over the previous season, while the number of buyers in our saleroom almost doubled
  • 12 sales were livestreamed around the world, including the three Evening Sales for Modern, Contemporary and ‘The Williamson Pink Star’, attracting over 3.5m views across 10 digital and social platforms
  • The preview exhibitions at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre welcomed 15,000 visitors
  • Sotheby’s digital experiences continue this season with Sotheby’s specialists and Joey Yung.  Known as the ‘Queen of Cantopop’, Joey took part in a livestream gallery tour at the auction preview which was shown across 8 social channels including Sotheby’s platforms in Mainland China. In addition, inspired by this season’s highlights, a H5 game (web games for mobile) was introduced to encourage participants to curate, attracting over 1000 visitors across 11 countries to take part.

Standout Records and Results: 

The Williamson Pink Star

  • The Williamson Pink Star was the most valuable lot of the season: one of the world’s purest and most saturated pink diamonds sold for an outstanding HK$453.2m / US$58m - establishing a new record price per carat for any diamond or gemstone (US$5,178,124). It also became the second most valuable jewel or gemstone ever sold at auction. See separate release here 
A Late Ming Dynasty Chair

  • A Late Ming Dynasty Chair realised HK$125m / US$16m - an auction record for a Chinese Chair, the second most valuable piece of Chinese classical furniture sold at auction, and the third highest price paid for any chair on the secondary market, after a 15-minute bidding battle and with over 60 bids placed. Part of the legendary collection of the late Sir Joseph Hotung,  the Huanghuali Folding Horseshoe-Back Armchair, jiaoyi from the late Ming dynasty, soared 12 times above its low estimate (HK$10m-15m) 
Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild

  • Outright auction records were set for Louise Bonnet, Emily Mae Smith and Ho Kan
  • Joan Miró, Bridget Riley, Lynne Drexler and Peter Doig achieved record prices for works sold in Asia 
  • Other top prices of the season include: 
    - Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild which sold for HK$200.4m / US$26m - the second highest price for the artist ever achieved at auction in Asia 
    Sanyu, Branches

    - Sanyu’s largest flower painting, Branches, which realised HK$87m / $11m - after a 10-minute bidding battle in its auction debut

    - Pablo Picasso’s Femme assise à la galette des rois which achieved HK$76.4m / US$10m in its first auction appearance and having remained unseen to the public for more than 30 years. Sotheby’s now holds five of the six top auction prices set for Picasso in Asia

    Further Highlights From Across the Season: 

    Ruby-Ground yangcai 'Trigrams' Reticulated Vase from the Qianlong period

    • Strong Demand for Chinese Art: this season’s strong offerings achieved a total of HK$1.2bn / US$159m across sales of Chinese Works of Art, Classical and Fine Chinese Paintings
      - Chinese Works of Art made a combined HK$918m / US$117m - the highest total in the past four years at Sotheby’s. The top lot was a Magnificent Ruby-Ground yangcai 'Trigrams' Reticulated Vase from the Qianlong period which achieved HK$177m / US$23m after generating over 80 bids during a 30-minute bidding battle. The vase came from the esteemed collection of Dr Wou Kiuan
      - The collection of the late Sir Joseph Hotung (Parts I Day and Evening) brought a combined total of HK$564m / US$72m - smashing the pre-sale estimate (HK$187.7-271.8m)

    Qi Baishi, Flowers and Fruits

    - Chinese paintings were also snapped up by collectors with eager interest. Among them include several of Zhang Daqian's lush splashed ink landscapes such as Silvery Peaks, Lush Mountains by Reed Grove, and Secluded Village amongst the Mountains, all of which soared above high estimates. Equally respected and coveted, Flowers and Fruit and Bodhidharma Meditating Under the Bodhi Tree by Qi Baishi both demanded more than two times its estimates, achieving HK$78.65 million (US$10 million) and HK$30.63 million (US$3.9 million), respectively, while other works such as Sailboots Fleet, and Wine and Crabs all rose above estimates.

    Li Mengyang, Letter to Yang Yiqing

    - Other notable lots were Letter to Yang Yiqing by Li Mengyang and Qi Zhijia's handscroll of Li Bai's Poems in Running Script which sold above estimates for HK$27.6 million (US$3.52 million) and HK$6.55 million (US$834,659) respectively.

    • Vietnamese Art Commands High Prices: all but one of the 31 Vietnamese works offered in the Modern sales series found new homes, led by Le Pho’s masterpiece, The et sympathie, which sold for HK$10.7m / US$1.4m - more than double its low estimate

      - The top three prices achieved in the Day sale were also set for one work by Le Pho and two by Mai Trung Thu. These results follow the success of Sotheby’s first non-selling exhibition in Vietnam in July, which welcomed more than 4,000 visitors over the four-day exhibition

    • Women Artists Take the Market by Storm: accounting for almost 40% of the Contemporary Evening Sale, works by women artists were 100% sold.

      - The auction opened with a sequence of six works by women artists, five of which sold for prices in excess of their high estimates, several by many multiples including Lucy Bull, Louise Bonnet, María Berrío and Emily Mae Smith. 

      - In the Modern Evening sale, Lalan, Pan Yuliang and Georgette Chen also achieved high prices

    In Luxury… 

    • Luxury sales have so far achieved HK$1b / US$132m - an increase of 20% on last autumn
    • Diamonds and Jadeite Lead Magnificent Jewels I: Imperial Jadeite commanded the top two highest prices, with an ‘Extraordinary 'Imperial Green' Jadeite and Diamond Pendant’ selling for HK$33m / US$4.2m, and an ‘Exceptional and Extremely Rare 'Imperial Green' Jadeite Bead, Diamond and Ruby Necklace’ achieving HK$28.4m / US$4m

      A Pristine Modern Cellar, a ‘white glove’ sale

    • Wine & Spirits saw a solid performance across the three-day series, resulting in a combined total of HK$136m / US$17m. Standout among the four sales was A Pristine Modern Cellar, a ‘white glove’ (100% sold) 872-lot sale with Burgundy wines taking the top spot, indicative of the current global demand for Burgundy. A further three sales (Bordeaux From The Cellar of Sir Dickson Poon Part II, Finest & Rarest Wines, and Finest & Rarest Spirits) also performed well, with Spirits led by Japanese whiskies. Continued activity from a younger demographic saw over one third of buyers under 40 years of age (42% in the Spirits sale)
    Philippe Dufour Simplicity, Number 167

    • Highest Auction Price Achieved for a Philippe Dufour Simplicity Watch: a white gold Simplicity numbered 167 by the legendary watchmaker, more than doubled its estimate to sell for HK$7.3m / US$931,000 to an online bidder

    Sales Still to Come

    Magnificent Jewels Part II

    (28 September-12 October) 


    Handbags & Accessories 

    (2-13 October) 


    Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

    Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

    By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

    More from Sotheby's

    Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.

    Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

    By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.