A Change of Art
Hong Kong art auctions are white-hot, for those losing sleep about the pandemic's effect on the industry. Pre-Covid, a good year brought the China Guardian's auctions HKD$500m. It's bagged $HKD364m in Q1 of 2021 alone.
We pay attention because of auctions' bellwether effects on alternative assets in general. Collectors dropping nine figures are trending younger, with millennial Chinese chasing contemporary art pieces, and lamenting the flat appreciation numbers for Picassos and Monets.
"Besides demonstrating that there's no accounting for taste, the uptick in big money going into contemporary art shows a growing need for assets proven to hold value, illiquid though they may be," says Edward Lehman. "This is institutional wealth reacting to inflation, which we believe will increase significantly in the near-to-midterm."
"We see the collectible trend filtering down in China," says Jimmie Jeremejev. "Particularly in the new NFT market, which is getting lots of interest here. A digitized pop song just sold for $47,000, for example."