Monday, October 25, 2021

Counting at Christie’s


As Christie’s report sales down 5% to £4.8 billion during 2015, Matthew Steeples asks: ‘Has the art market peaked?’


This morning the self-described “world’s leading art business” Christie’s announced 2015 sales of £4.8 billion ($7.4 billion), down five percent on the same period in 2014.


Counting at Christie’s – As Christie’s report sales down 5% to £4.8 billion during 2015, Matthew Steeples asks: ‘Has the art market peaked?’
The record setting Hadley chest


Of the results, the firm’s chief executive officer Patricia Barbizet commented:


“Last year saw continued strength in the art market and showed that there is breadth of demand across geographies, categories and price ranges. Amidst an increasingly challenging global financial environment we are in a strong position to adapt to the marketplace and well equipped to service the new, broader, geographically diverse audience for art. Our strong overall sold percentages demonstrated how we have achieved great results for our clients and we will remain focused on service, bringing the best art to collectors around the world”.


“It is also encouraging that new buyers represent 30% of our total buyer base, coming to us through our curated auctions, various categories as well as digital sales. As we begin our 250th year, Christie’s will continue to celebrate our heritage and, with innovation and expertise at the heart of our business, continue to lead the industry”.


Some might suggest the market has peaked but early evidence in 2016 has already proven to the contrary. Last week, a world record was set at Christie’s New York for ‘outsider art’ with the sale of an oak and pine polychrome ‘Hadley’ chest which realized £722,000 ($1,025,000).



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    1. I reckon it has peaked, people are finding it difficult to get back the prices they paid a few years ago. It is just another bubble which has reached it’s peak and will soon burst. Classic cars are the latest bubble, that one will run it’s course too, I have seen it twice before in my lifetime. The main difference with classic cars is that unlike art there is no capital gains tax on profits made on them and also unlike art, they can be used to dodge death duties.

    2. Early American furniture and domestic silver is highly prized, as is nineteenth century barbed wire

      Find a bale of the right barbed wire in a barn, and you can buy a barn find Ferrari

      Don’t worry too much about the ups and downs of the market – fill your boots – treat yourself to the playthings of the rich – and enjoy them

    3. …..and as Charles points out this is the unfairness in IHT. Why should a collector of bits of valuable 4 wheeled metal, who is probably very rich, be free of IHT, yet a hardworking family, who have worked for their home, be targeted.
      We need a Minister of Fiscal Inconsistency.

    4. I second that too Martin, the trouble is I spend so much on toys that I keep running out of money, I had better look around in some of my barns for old barbed wire. I have got plenty of nineteen century fencing tools, I wonder if they count?


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