HONG KONG (Reuters) - The king of Macau’s gambling industry, Stanley Ho, paid HK$13.76 million (885,196 pounds) for an imperial throne at an auction in Hong Kong that Christie’s said was the highest ever bid in that art category.
Ho, 85, made the winning bid by telephone for the gilt-incised, five-panel, lacquer throne dating from the reign of the Qing Dynasty emperor Kangxi (1662-1722).
Paula Antebi, a senior vice president at Chritie’s, said Ho would put the ornate chair in his new casino in Macau.
Some of the luxury casino resorts in Las Vegas, including the Bellagio and the Wynn, which recently opened a casino in Macau, boast galleries with expensive original art on display.
Ho pioneered Western-style casinos in Macau after winning a monopoly concession in the 1960s, but liberalisation in the former Portuguese-run enclave in the past few years has eroded his empire as foreign casino operators poured in.
A university drop-out with 17 children, Ho ranked number 104 on Forbes’ list of billionaires this year, sitting on a pile of chips worth some US$7 billion (3.5 billion pounds).
Ho’s Sociedade de Jogos de Macau includes casinos, dog racing, lotteries and horse betting.