Reuters has Christie’s release of 2012’s H1 sales and the numbers—total sales and the increase in private sales—are very strong. But, with the prevalence of third-party guarantees and the costs of running a large global operation, the question is whether the famously thin margins at Christie’s have finally fattened:
Christie’s announced record first-half art sales of 2.2 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) on Tuesday, a rise of 13 percent over the same period of 2011 and further evidence of the strength of the high end of the market.
Kelly Crow counters with an early look at Sotheby’s results:
Crow also gives us the more significant numbers on Asian vs. European and American buyers:
During the first half of the year at Christie’s, collectors from Europe bought $1.4 billion of art, up 11% from a year ago, while American bidders bought $1 billion in art, up 12%.
Meanwhile, Reuters gives us a few of the details:
The world’s largest auctioneer reported auction sales of 1.8 billion in the first six months of 2012, seven percent up on a year ago, while private art sales soared 53 percent to 413 million pounds. All figures include buyer’s premium.
However, there was a steep drop in Asian and Middle Eastern auction revenues to 234 million pounds, 23 percent down on the first half of 2011 as rampant Chinese buying cooled.
In terms of auction categories, the post-war and contemporary sector rose by 34 percent to 576 million pounds, jewellery jumped 28 percent to 190 million and old masters and 19th century art was up 50 percent to 72 million.