Hammering Away

Illustration for TIME by Serge Bloch

If you were asked to guess John Andreas' profession, the words "fine-art auctioneer" would probably not come to mind. There's no bespoke suit or Etonian comportment. Instead, the burly Andreas sports cheap slacks, an off-the-rack polyester shirt and the mercantile mannerisms of a hard-bitten trader. Yet the former Indonesian shipping agent happens to be the founder and CEO of Borobudur Auction; in October his four-year-old company fetched $6.89 million at a Singapore sale of contemporary and modern Southeast Asian art. The figure was just $200,000 less than the highest figure taken at similar sales by venerable auctioneers Sotheby's. "I...

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