The highest total in auction history


2015-06-26 13:16:45


The highest total in auction history

Christie's record smashing contemporary art auction offers encouragement for all collectors

"The highest total in auction history".

Those are the triumphant words that adorn Christie's website.

Christie's world record-breaking $495m post-war and contemporary art auction set new world records for Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York on Wednesday night.

The Pollock sale represents a 17.3% pa rise in value on its $2.4m auction price in 1993.

Basquiat's world record is up 84.9%in less than a year.

It follows new records for Gerhard Richter (still the world's most valuable living artist) and Barnett Newman across town the previous evening, at Sotheby's parallel sale.

Great days for contemporary art

Basquiat Dustheads Christie's auctionBasquiat's Dustheads helped Christie's to the highest auction total ever seen

The figures indicate what many of us have known for a number of years: contemporary art is one hot market.

Some 84% of the world's top 200 spenders on art collect contemporary pieces, according to last year's Artnews 200 report.

And the sector has moved on apace since then.

Christie's corresponding sale last May made a comparatively modest $388m - yet it at the time was a contemporary art auction record.

"We are in a new era of the art market," Christie's Jussi Pylkkanen commented following yesterday's sale.

"Pictures are making prices we couldn't have imagined only a few years ago."

The sceptics will point out that when adjusted for inflation, Christie's $491.5m sale in November 2006 of impressionist and modern art is worth around $560m in today's modern money.

But the fact that last night's sale is just $65m off the heady days of 2006, when the art market was at its peak, is a strong indication of a resurgence.

Pleasure and diversity

The results are also an indication that growing numbers of high net worth individuals are turning to the heady mix of pleasure of ownership and diversification benefits that rare collectibles, including art, afford.

"You have a lot of foreign money, a lot of hedge-fund money," US-based art collector Martin Margulies told Bloomberg after witnessing the Christie's sale.

"Stocks could go down 50 percent. If this [art] goes down, it will eventually go back up. These are historical pieces."

And even if you can't quite stretch to a Pollock or a Basquiat, you can take your lead from the big players' strategies - wherever your passion lies.

Our stock of items that come with our 120% Guarantee have been hand-picked for their diversification potential - and prices start at just 3,500 ($5,330).

See all our 120% Guarantee collectibles for sale.

Thanks for reading.

Until next week,


Paul Fraser

P.S Make sure you check out our sister company PFC Auctions' latest auction, which is now open for bidding.

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