Next month’s important pre-Christmas sale at Surrey’s leading fine art and antiques auctioneer, Ewbank’s, will be broadcast live on the Internet to 100,000 wealthy Chinese dealers and collectors in the saleroom’s first on-line link-up with unique Chinese auction platform epaiLive.
And to further promote the sale, Ewbank’s Principal Chris Ewbank is to visit the Beijing Art International Fair to meet Chinese bidders in person. During his six-day visit, he will hand out catalogues for Ewbank’s December 12-13 sale, while in his capacity as founding Chairman of the UK Association of Accredited Auctioneers (Triple-A), he will chair forums to demystify the UK auction system, dealing specifically with areas identified as being of interest to Chinese collectors.
“Our December sale will be one of the first in the UK to be available to buyers on epaiLive, China’s premier live auction website” Chris Ewbank said. “The catalogue will be translated into Chinese and with epaiLive’s unique escrow system, it means that payment by Chinese buyers is guaranteed.”
Registered bidders on the site are required to lodge a deposit in escrow prior to bidding and their bidding limit is linked automatically to the level of that deposit.
“It is now well documented that Chinese collectors are keen to buy back objects that represent their country’s art heritage and we always have a large amount of interest in our sales from that country,” Mr Ewbank said. “However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Chinese buyers are seeking to buy Western antiques and works of art, notably jewellery, watches, silver, paintings, furniture, coins and clocks.
“Making our sale catalogues available to them in their own language and bidding through epaiLive, which has 100,000 registered members, we believe makes our sales much more attractive to them – to the obvious advantage of our sellers.”
Last Friday (Nov 9) as founder Chairman of Triple-A, Mr Ewbank hosted a conference and luncheon at the RAC Club in London, attended by Beijing-based Dr Qiqi Jian, the Oxford-educated Chief Executive of epaiLive and a delegation of Triple-A founder auctioneers.
Triple-A was born out of an idea inspired by Mr Ewbank’s visit to China earlier this year on a trade mission with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) of which he is a Fellow. Already 18 other leading UK fine art and antiques auctioneers with a combined annual turnover in excess of £200 million have backed the move and become founder members.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Dr Jian is reported as saying that the global impact from the mobilisation of China’s new middle-class wealth was now being reported widely. “The reality, to date, has been that much of this demand can be satisfied from domestic production,” she said. “Antiques are different. The cachet of owning a ‘piece of international history’ is becoming more commonplace and an integrall part of satisfying this appetite is by purchasing directly from abroad.”
She told delegates that epaiLive had grown rapidly in the year since it was launched, winning the support of the Chinese government and close relations with the banking sector in China. EpaiLive’s unique escrow system allowed them to withdraw funds directly from their customers’ accounts as soon as bids were successful and to pay auctioneers quickly wherever they were based in the world.
She said she looked forward to welcoming Triple-AAA members to the Beijing art and antiques fair in December, and on a further visit in 2013. It was an opportunity for established UK auctioneers to educate Chinese buyers in terms of auction practices but, more importantly, to explain the importance and quality of Western art and design, she said.
She saw the relationship with Triple-AAA members as crucial in helping Chinese buyers to understand the Western auction system, providing information to allow them to appreciate Western antiques and works of art and in turn educate others on their importance.
A question and answer session followed, during which Dr Jian answered questions about the types of Western items that were popular with Chinese buyers. She urged delegates to take up the offer of advertising in the epaiLive’s website and in its own Global LiveAuctions Gazette, a bi-monthly publication reviewing the latest world trends in art and antique trading.
Further entries of good quality antiques, fine art, silver and jewellery are invited for Ewbank’s important two-day Winter auction, which will be broadcast on epaiLive. The closing date is Thursday November 29. For further information, please contact the auctioneer on 01483 223101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.