Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bainbridge Auctions Finally Collects on Qianlong Vase

Bainbridge Auctions Finally Collects on Qianlong Vase

Qianlong Vase Sells for an estimated 25 Million Pounds in Brokered Deal with Bonhams Hong Kong


Bainbridge Auctions Finally Collects on Qianlong Vase

Bonham's Colin Sheaf Brokers Deal Est. $35,000,000

A few years ago in 2010 at Great Britain's Bainbridge Aucioneers sold at auction a rare 18th C. Qianlong Mark and Period Vase for an astounding 51.6 Million pounds (83 Million dollars US).

Following the the sale a dispute broke out between the Chinese buyer and the auctioneer over the 20% buyer's fee which is automatically added onto the the auction price. Known affectionately in "the trade" as "the juice".. The buyer simply didn't want to pay it and perhaps got cold feet when several well known dealers tossed cold water on the vase's authenticity.

In 2010 the cold footed buyer was widely thought to be Wang Yaohui, the Beijing-based chairman of Zhonghui Guohua Industrial Group Co., Ltd. Now known no doubt as "The Dead Beat"...

Rumors swirled for months following the auction about the buyer and whether or not the piece was authentic at all. No where do rumors spread faster than in the antiques business or more viciously.

After several years of sincere hard work by British Solicitor Tony Johnson on behalf of the consignors nothing was happening. The deal had gone cold.

The Chinese buyer simply stiffed them, which in China is not at all unusual these days, it is unfortunately how they do business. It, in fact, has gotten so bad that for the first time a couple years ago the major auction houses instituted "Cash Deposit" requirements to bid at auction to curb the non payment problem.

Enter Colin Sheaf, The Deal Maker From Bonhams

After a couple years of deadlock between the auctioneer, the consignor, lawyers and the Chinese buyer, a decision was made for a new tack in selling the Qianlong vase.   The result? They made a very smart move by reaching out to Bonhams and the director of their Asian Department Colin Sheaf to try and make a deal to sell it. 

Colin is a terrifically nice man with whom I've done some business, if he says the piece is ok...its ok, end of discussion. I have no doubt that for this piece Colin had to have pretty much swear in blood the vase was of the period represented by the mark on the base. By doing so effectively squelched any debate about the vase's authenticity which was what was needed to flush out a buyer. Very few people in the business have enough respect and are trusted enough wield this much influence, very few. Normally when a piece falls under such a negative shadow following an auction as this vase did, its generally assumed to be "dead as a stump" in the market for a very, very long time. If not forever. 

Today we've learned the vase has been sold for a reported 25 Million Pounds through a brokered deal with Bonhams Auctioneers through their offices in Hong Kong.

Apparently Bainbridge Auctions agreed to the deal for which they were no doubt paid a handsome fee, which they certainly deserve at this point.

All's well that ends well:

Bonhams is pleased to confirm the sale of the vase for an undisclosed sum, in a private treaty deal,” according to an email from Julian Roup, Bonhams’s director of press and marketing.

The undisclosed sum is thought to be roughly 20 to 25 Million UK Pounds...

To read more about the vase CLICK HERE for the story by SUZANNAH HILLS

For more on the Original Story and the nice folks at Bainbridge Click HERE