Pair of Imperial White-Glazed Bottle Vases Fetched HK$15.7m at Bonhams Hong Kong, Far Exceeding Pre-Sale Estimate

Bonhams’ Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Sale was held in Hong Kong on 28 November. The sale made a total of HK$70m and achieved 64% sold by lot, with a number of lots hammered down at prices far above estimates.  The top lot of the sale - a pair of imperial white-glazed relief-carved bottle Vases from the Qianlong period – was sold for HK$15.7m, ten times their estimate at HK$1.5m-2m.

The sale was presided over by Edward Wilkinson, Executive Director of Bonhams Asia

The pair of vases had been preserved by a British family for decades prior to being discovered and sold at Bonhams sale. The vases were originally estimated at HK$1.5m-2m but the bidding opened at HK$4m, probably due to the increased estimate by the auction house before the sale. Four telephone bidders joined the bidding battle and the price soon soared to HK$8m.

When the price reached HK$8m, only two telephone bidders stayed and further pushed up the price. The lot was hammered down at HK$13m and sold for HK$15.7m, ten times the estimate, to a telephone bidder.

The second top lot was an imperially-inscribed white and russet jade ‘birthday celebration’ boulder. The jade is carved in an oval cartouche enclosing the two characters Chunhe (Peaceful Spring). The seal indicates that the inscription was composed by Prince Yunli, the seventeenth son of the Kangxi Emperor. The present jade boulder is exquisitely carved enabling the beholder to appreciate the luminous quality of the white jade stone highlighted against the contrast of the russet-toned deftly carved mountains. Estimated at HK$5m-8m, the jade was hammered down at HK$6.5m and sold for HK$7.9m with buyer’s premium.

The third one was a Ming-style doucai 'dragon' jar inscribed with a six-character mark from the Yongzheng period. Estimated at HK$4m-6m, the jar was hammered down at its low estimate HK$4m after being offered a few bid increments only.

Top Three Lots

A Very Rare Pair of Imperial White-glazed Relief-carved Bottle Vases
Qianlong Seal Marks and of the Period

Lot no.: 30
Height: 33.7cm
An English private collection, and thence by descent
Estimate: HK$1,500,000 - 2,000,000
Hammer price: HK$13,000,000
Price realized: HK$15,700,000

An Imperially-Inscribed White and Russet Jade 'Birthday Celebration' Boulder
First Half of the 18th Century, Two-character Seal Mark Chun He

Lot no.: 10
Width: 11.3cm
A Scottish private collection; according to the family acquired in China between 1901 and 1906, and thence by descent
An important Asian private collection
Estimate: HK$5,000,000 - 8,000,000
Hammer price: HK$6,500,000
Price realized: HK$7,900,000

A Very Rare Imperial Ming-style Doucai 'Dragon' Jar. Yongzheng Six-character Mark and of the Period.

Lot no.: 21
Height: 10cm

  • N.H.P. Huth
  • Sotheby's London, 26 April 1966, lot 132
  • W.W. Winkworth (1897-1991)
  • Sotheby's London, 12 December 1972, lot 119
  • Hugh Moss Ltd., London, acquired from the above sale
  • Christie's New York, 15 September 2011, lot 1543
  • An important Asian private collection

Estimate: HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000
Hammer price: HK$4,000,000
Price realized: HK$4,900,000

Auction Summary

Auction house: Bonhams Hong Kong
Sale: Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Date: 2017/11/28
Sale total: HK$70,385,000
No. of lots.: 56
Sold: 36
Unsold: 20
Average price per lot: HK$1,955,138
Sell-through rate: 64%

(All prices realized have included buyer’s premium unless otherwise specified)