British art-auction house Christie’s and China’s auctioneer Poly Auction held competing sales in Hong Kong last week, garnering strong demand from China’s high-end antique collectors, The Wall Street Journal reported. Christie’s, the world’s largest auction house, sold US$101.6 million (HKD783 million) lots on Friday and Saturday. Poly Auction, the world’s third-largest auction company, sold US$66.83 million over the weekend. Year-on-year auction sales are down, however. “The cowboys have left town,” said François Curiel, Christie’s regional president, who thinks speculative bidders who spurred high prices in the past are no longer buying. But strong demand for certain lots, such as those containing 20th-century Chinese ink and oil paintings, revealed that buyers have matured and are focused on the most exclusive items, while overlooking lesser works that might have sold well previously, market commentators said.