Christie's International said auction and private sales increased by 10% worldwide in the first half of 2008, driven by new buyers from the Middle East, Russia, and Asia.
Christie's sold $3.6 billion of art and collectibles over the six months, compared with $3.2 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to an e-mailed statement today. Auction sales include London-based Christie's fees.
Auctions held by Christie's and its rival Sotheby's have been boosted by demand from billionaires such as Roman Abramovich, even as other collectors reduced purchases amid worries about an economic slowdown. Christie's said its sales in the Asia and Middle East region totaled $358 million, up 81% on the same period last year.
"Asia has been a robust selling environment," the president of Christie's Europe and the Middle East, Jussi Pylkkänen, said in a telephone interview. "A lot of clients are now choosing to sell jewelry in Dubai and we've seen amazing growth in the market for Asian art."
Worldwide sales of Asian art totaled $478 million, up 63% on last year. About 250 new clients registered to bid for art and jewels at Christie's Hong Kong in the first half of 2008, Ms. Pylkkänen said.
European and U.K. sales totaled $1.67 billion, an increase of 6% on the same period in 2007. Sales in the Americas totaled $1.26 billion, a decline of 1%.