Bonhams Fine Asian Works of Art sales in June bring over $5.5 Million

Fine Asian Works of Art
19 Jun 2012
San Francisco

Bonhams held a successful two-day auction of Asian Works of Art, June 19-20 in San Francisco, achieving over $ 5.5 million in sales. The auctions' over 700 lots of predominantly Chinese art attracted a strong international bidding audience and brought strong prices in all categories.

The first of the two sale days was devoted to Fine Asian Works of Art. This 400-lot session saw strong prices in Qing dynasty and Republic period jade carvings, with the cover lot, a fine pair of Republic period spinach jade landscape plaques (est. $10,000-15,000) selling for over 10 times its estimate at $116,500. An elegant 18th century carved nephrite censer brought $98,500, against an estimate of $12,000-15,000.

Furniture and works of art and paintings were the target of frenzied bidding on the telephone, the internet and overseas. A huanghuali and burlwood table, composed of 18th century elements, soared to $458,500, bought by a Mainland Chinese buyer (est. $40,000-60,000). A fine Canton enamel floriform covered box, Qianlong mark and period, from the George Taber collection of Pittsburgh, Penn., was the subject of heated bidding, achieving $206,500, 10 times its estimate of $20,000-30,000. Works by Zhao Shaoang, Pu Ru and Qi Baishi all commanded strong prices. A rare landscape by Chen Shaomei (1907-54) engendered fierce competition on all fronts, achieving $122,500 (pre-sale est. $4000-6000).

The second day of Asian Decorative Art followed the same pattern, with jade and furniture creating the most interest. A group of three jade carvings brought an amazing $86,500 (est. $1,200-1,800). A zitan veneered chair of the 19th century was the subject of heated bidding, selling over the phone for $43,750 against an estimate of $2,000-3,000. Snuff bottles and Chinese textiles, which brought consistently high prices in the previous day, continued to be the target of collectors, with a group of two jade snuff bottles from a West Coast collection achieving $40,000 (est. $700-900).

Dessa Goddard, Director of Asian Art, at Bonhams North America observed that "the market continues to be extremely competitive for great, fresh objects in all categories. Clearly reasonable estimates attract buyers to the sales room and engender excitement at auction, as buyers are being showered daily by auction catalogues from all parts of the world."


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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