Speculators are back in the market and they’re making money. At least they did at tonight’s Impressionist and Modern sale at Sotheby’s. Fresh to the market wasn’t a prerequisite for strong showings and big profits. The Caillebotte led the way nearly doubling the consignor’s money in three years.
Kandinsky too netted $2.5m even starting at a boom-level price. A little continental arbitrage helped the Chagall, though even though the work was bought in Japan in 2007, one of Sotheby’s Japanese staffers was bidding for a client on the other end of a telephone.
We know the sellers were speculators only because none of the works were sold at a loss and the two of the three failures were priced well above the previous purchase.
Next week we’ll see if the Contemporary market is as forgiving.