Art auctioneers test HK's financial muscle

Sotheby’s and Christie’s have begun to hold previews in Hong Kong of artworks sold elsewhere.
Claude Monet's "Le Grand Canal"
Claude Monet's "Le Grand Canal"

Sotheby’s and Christie’s are the best-known brands in the auctions business, hosting more than 600 events each year around the world and offering nearly 100 categories of art and other collectibles. Formed in the mid-18th century, London’s two titans have been holding semi-annual auctions in Hong Kong for over 25 years.

The auctioneer’s key role is to provide the expertise necessary to confirm the provenance and authenticity of art pieces, and then to establish benchmark prices for art and artists through its sales. But that role is evolving. Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have started to offer specialised auctions and hold private sales.

They have also established galleries,...

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