5 Key Takeaways From Auctions in October

Data culled from these sales often tell an interesting tale.

Taishang Huangdi Zhi Bao seal.

Each month, 1,700 auction houses from New York to Lagos hold auctions. Data culled from these sales often tell an interesting tale, whether about people finding artwork selling well below its market value or an artist coming to the secondary market for the first time. Often it’s the blockbuster sales in May and November that grab the headlines, but how is the auction market performing throughout the year?

In this monthly series, with the help of the artnet Price Database, we’ll attempt to fill you in with some of the more interesting facts, numbers, and stories that we find.

1. This past October, 38,465 artworks were sold across 160 cities around the world for a total of $1,108,889,327.

Taishang Huangdi Zhi Bao seal.

A highly important and exceptionally large imperial Khotan-green jade ‘Taishang Huangdi Zhi Bao’ Seal, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

2. Both the highest-selling fine and decorative art lots in October were sold in Hong Kong. Lotus in the Autumn Wind by Cui Ruzhuo sold for $18,255,892 at Poly Auction (Hong Kong). A highly important and exceptionally large imperial Khotan-green jade ‘Taishang Huangdi Zhi Bao’ Seal, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period sold for $11,792,307 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Cui Ruzhuo, <i>Lotus in the Autumn Wind</i>. Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

Cui Ruzhuo, Lotus in the Autumn Wind. Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

3. Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s autumn sale, which usually serves as an indicator of the status of Chinese auction market, totaled $273,568,546, down 4% from last year, and 25% from 2014. On the other hand, Poly Auction (Hong Kong), a younger player in the Hong Kong market (established in 2012), continued to grow year by year. Its autumn sale totaled $154,425,635 this year, up by 17% from last year, and 48% from 2014.

Sam Forrest. Courtesy of Rago.

Sam Forrest, sofa/loveseat. Courtesy of Rago Auctions.

4. In October, Sam Forrest debuted in the secondary market at Rago Auctions with five design pieces which totaled $35,250.

Landscapes by Shen Zhou.

Shen Zhou, Landscapes. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

5. At Sotheby’s Hong Kong, an album titled Landscapes by Shen Zhou sold more than eight times higher than its estimate for $2,238,094.

The artnet Price Database offers the most comprehensive archive of auction results in the world, comprising over 10 million records dating back to 1985. Learn more about the database here.


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  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.

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