Sotheby’s Sells Record $447 Million of Asian Art

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HONG KONG.- Auction giant Sotheby’s (BID.N) sold $447 million worth of Asian art, wine, watches and jewellery in its Asian spring sales, in another bullish showing for the Chinese art market despite weak results for a monumental collection of Chinese ceramics. The HK$3.49 billion tally for its 8-day Asian sales in Hong Kong — now considered the world’s third most important art auction hub after New York and London, was the firm’s best season ever underpinned by strong Chinese buyers — eclipsing even its blockbuster $400 million autumn season last October. But beneath the banner results were some signs of weakness in the red-hot Chinese ceramics market that is now a cornerstone of Sotheby’s biannual and closely watched Asian sales. A major collection of Chinese ceramics, seen as one of the best to be sold in decades, failed to live up to expectations in a conspicuous setback for the market, with 30 percent of the porcelain g