Adam Lindemann tries to explain in the Observer why the Scull’s collection of Contemporary art would be impossible to duplicate today:
So how was it possible for the Sculls to live on Fifth Avenue and buy so many desirable works by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and commission Andy Warhol to do a portrait of Ethel that comprised 36 panels? The market was in its infancy, and there were few collectors and little money for contemporary art, and thus a savvy, self-promoting parvenu could buy up everything, if he had an eye for some of the best and most challenging works.
[….] Today’s prices bear little resemblance to what they once were; today’s values are roughly 100 times greater. The whole market is also exponentially bigger, so it is no longer possible to amass the range and quality the Sculls did, unless the budget is multiplied a hundred times. Art is an asset class. Despite the economic crisis, prices for works by many artists have largely held up, as has the Sculls’ reputation.
Schooled by the Sculls (Observer)