Published on Blouin Artinfo.
London-based dealer and auctioneer Spink & Son announced that
their chairman and CEO, Olivier Stocker will be
relocating permanently to Hong Kong.
The move marks a leap of faith in the performance of the Asia
market. Spink is headquartered in London but holds more than 70
auctions a year around the globe. Stocker, who has been chairman
and CEO since 2005, previously lived and worked in Hong Kong and
Singapore for more than a decade, predating his time at Spink. As
one of the most experienced auctioneers at the company, Stocker was
also involved in the 2011 acquisitions of philatelic auction house
Phila China, as well as wine auction business
Oeno China. With Spink's rapidly expanding
connections to China, Stocker says, "All staff and clients were
initially surprise by my move. In the same breath they recognized
it is extremely logical taking into account our push for the best
global footprint in the world of collectables."
Spink has been holding auctions in Hong Kong since 1986,
specializing in stamps, coins, banknotes, bonds and shares
certificates, as well as wines. This past August, Spink China sold
the highly praised Nicholas Rhodes Tibetan coin
collection in Hong Kong, in which one of the coins was
sold for three times its low pre-sale estimate, realising
BLOUIN ARTINFO caught up with Stocker who was
busy relocating his family to Hong Kong while he commutes to and
from London. The CEO tells us about the future offerings at Spink
China and staying competitive in the wine market.
Is Spink gearing up to hold auctions in the
It is always under review, things are changing as we speak, but no
immediate plans. Let me enjoy Hong Kong for a few weeks!
So why Hong Kong again, and why now?
Hong Kong has a unique buzz. Things have changed from my last
stay in Hong Kong 25 years ago, but the buzz is the same. Although
we hold auctions presents sales in London, New York, Lugano,
Singapore all over the world, Hong Kong has the Greater China edge.
Having said that Singapore and the ASEAN region has some formidable
collectors too. Asian clients are becoming more important,
accounting for a third of our global business, but it is our
fastest growing third.
Are you putting all your eggs in the China basket, so to
speak? Is there a danger in that?
Out of 100 or so people we employ globally, we are six in Hong
Kong for now, so it is still small, but we have put a rather large
egg in that half dozen!
How much has the auction market in Asia changed since
you were at Spink?
We have been doing auctions in Hong Kong since 1986. It has
grown but that is not a discovery for us. Clients are incredibly
sophisticated, whilst many still have not caught up with that
aspect of the market.
Can you give us a taste of what's to come from Spink in
There will be a lot of sales held in Hong Kong. We will probably
start with a small one with Bruce Lee material - I am a fan.
More seriously, our smaller categories such as banknotes, bonds,
and shares, autographs and wines will continue to outperform.
Now that you have acquired Oeno China, how will you
compete with the other wine auction giants in the
The wine market has some formidable players. We basically now
source from our collectors and sell to them so we avoid any
provenance issue. Auctions are smaller but we like to think more
attractive, with lifestyle offerings such as invitations to
chateaux for buyers of lots, with dinners and overnight stays. In
the last auction we had special invites at La
Lagune, Jaboulet, Pavie
and more. All the wine we sell are ready to drink after letting
them rest for a short while after purchase.
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