With major international events being cancelled or postponed amid the battle against Covid-19, auction houses are likewise adjusting their sales calendars.
Sotheby’s is moving its Magnificent Jewels and Important Watches auctions in Hong Kong from the week of April 5 to the week of July 5 while a new date for its Joaillerie Paris sale, originally slated for April 1, is yet to be confirmed.
Its Fine Jewels auction set for March 24 in London is taking place as scheduled.
“We are closely monitoring the advice of government and health authorities in the countries and cities where Sotheby’s is located and adjusting our business and operations accordingly,” the auction house said. “We plan to make final decisions about each event approximately 30 days prior to the existing sale date and will alert all relevant parties at that time.”
Christie’s released a similar statement, saying it is restructuring its forthcoming auctions, mainly those scheduled for March and April, in the US, Europe and the Middle East.
As of today, however, its Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels auction is scheduled to proceed on June 2 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. Its Hong Kong office also said it had yet to receive news about postponements or cancellations of overseas jewellery auctions.
Bonhams, for its part, said its salerooms will remain open for viewings while its auctions will run according to schedule. “However, one of the measures we have taken is to cancel all non-essential events until April 15,” revealed the auction house.
There seems to be no changes in its jewellery auctions scheduled for April onwards, according to Bonhams’ calendar.
Poly Auction Hong Kong meanwhile postponed its Spring Auctions 2020 due to the virus outbreak. Tiancheng International Auctioneer Ltd said it continues to monitor the situation and will announce any updates on its spring sales.
Hong Kong-based British auction house Phillips, for its part, deferred all sales and events in the US and Europe until mid-May, including the Geneva Watch Auction: ELEVEN, scheduled for May 9 to 10. Its spring auctions in Hong Kong, slated for May 29 to June 2, will so far proceed as planned.
The companies are also highlighting the use of other avenues to engage with clients.
Sotheby’s said it is “technologically equipped” to operate in a variety of scenarios, adding that it offers private sale opportunities and lending through its financial services. Sotheby’s has closed all its global locations, except for Hong Kong, which remains open to the public by appointment. Its London office continues to operate.
Christie’s, for its part, said it provides online and mobile browsing, and remote bidding by phone, online or proxy bid for clients that prefer to participate remotely in its London sales. The company has reduced working hours and closed sales offices beginning March 16.
Bonhams, meanwhile, encourages buyers to take part in an auction through various means – onsite, by telephone, absentee bid or through their website.
Phillips said its team remains available online and on the phone for any inquiries, noting that it will regularly post updates on its website and mobile app.