Friday, July 31, 2009

Discerning investors train sights on post-1945 art

By Jason Rhodes and Sam Cage - Analysis

ZURICH (Reuters) - Investors battered by a credit crisis could look beyond equities and bonds in their quest for returns: those with a keen eye are beginning to see bargains in contemporary art.

Prices of works by artists born after 1945 have fallen nearly a third since a late-2007 peak, according to widely used market data compiler Artprice, and analysts say this could be a great time to get in.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interest grows in collecting antique farm toys

Now that vegetable gardens are in the news — there’s one at the White House and cities are encouraging residents to plant them on vacant lots — collectors are looking at farm-related toys with more interest.

Toy manufacturers made cast-iron farm toys in the early 1900s, lithographed tin toys by the 1930s and, after World War II, aluminum and plastic toys.

You can usually date a toy tractor by the material it’s made of and by the design of the tractor. Most were made as models of full-size machines. Other details, including how the wheels and tires are made, how it’s painted and what the drivers are wearing, also help.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wine: First Growth Indices since June 2008

The graph below charts the performance of the five first growths since June 08.

It clearly demonstrates the effect the credit crunch had on prices at the tail end of last year and, interestingly, shows which vintages were more resilient to the feared price decreases. A general observation might be that the laws of demand and supply came to the fore- thus the marked difference in the performance of 1982 vs 2005.

However, those now wanting to take advantage of the current conditions could do worse than to reconsider the 2005 and 1996 vintages. A switch perhaps out the 1982s?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Snatching Big Names, Aesthetics Aside


LONDON — The surprising success of the contemporary art sales at Sotheby’s on June 25 and at Christie’s on Tuesday has again confirmed that the art market operates as if the buyers had never heard of the recession. Interestingly, it also puts its performance in a new perspective.

As long as the continuing rush to buy art at auction concerned the legacy of the past, this could be accounted for by the collectors’ obsessive fear of missing opportunities that may not recur — the dwindling of supplies is now becoming too painfully obvious to be denied.

But with contemporary art, this explanation does not hold water. The works of artists who died years ago (and should not be called “contemporary,” strictly speaking) remains relatively abundant and living artists continue to paint, sculpt or devise contraptions that sometimes defy definition.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A horse? A triple-gallop investment!


The passage of each metre sets your heart racing, the minutes stretch on like hours and then comes the euphoria of seeing the jacket,bearing your own colours, boldly cross the finish line… Indeed, being the owner of a horse is packed with emotions, and it also potentially offers you fairly decent tax deductions, so why not take the jump this year and invest in a horse!

The acquisition of a race horse: a wise investment

At a time when the financial sector is experiencing an unprecedented crisis and the Madoff affair has greatly tarnished the image of banks, it is high time to consider other kinds of investments, more "humane" and stimulating ones. So, the good news is, and this goes along with the new democratization trend, owning a race horse is no longer the privilege of a closed circle of racetrack elites, but the door to ownership has recently opened up offering a variety of possibilities. My horse, our horse, our horses...: for a few thousand Euros, it is now possible to satisfy our passion for races and to generate good and steady profits. Just to give you an idea, in 2008, some 4,600 owners shared around170 million Euros in profits. That should surely whet your appetite...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Surprises and Perils of a French Sale


PARIS — This could only happen in France, a land of passionate collectors gloating in the privacy of their homes over treasures accumulated for love and kept out of sight for decades. In contrast to Britain, bled dry of its fabulous private collections by its powerful auction houses for the last 50 years, artistic rarities still come out of the woodwork, as they did on Wednesday at a Drouot sale organized by the Piasa group.

The medieval sculpture collected by Charles Mayer, a physician who, in later life, changed his name to Charles Maillant and died in 1993, illustrated the French capacity to come up with artistic surprises. Interestingly, it also highlighted the perils awaiting those who eagerly pick up the fragments of vanished monuments of the past.

The auction, conducted by Henri-Pierre Teissedre, included pieces that have not come under the hammer for decades. They bore witness to the mad destruction of some of the greatest monuments of ecclesiastical architecture during the 19th century. While the destructive fits of mob rage following the 1789 Revolution were short-lived, the materialism and artistic illiteracy of the “orderly” regimes that succeeded it caused far greater damage. As a result, thousands of architectural and sculptural fragments were let loose on the market. Many decades later, the provenance problems they raise can be thorny.

Beijing hosts China's first fine French wine auction

BEIJING, May 29, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- MRGX | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- From famous chateaux ranging from Lafite to Margaux and Mouton, wine lovers had a chance to bid for top French wine in Beijing on Friday at the first wine auction yet on the Chinese mainland.

Around 1,000 bottles of fine wine from France's renowned Bordeaux area were on auction with a starting price of several hundred to several thousand U.S. dollars, about one third of the market price in China, the Beijing Poly International Auction Co., Ltd. said.

Ma Zhefei, a Poly staffer in charge of the auction, said that about 94 percent of the wines were sold and over 90 percent of the buyers said they would drink the wines themselves, not for investment.

The wines were sold at about 70 percent of the market price in China, Ma said. With high wine import taxes, rich Chinese mainland wine lovers sometimes make the purchases in Hong Kong, where the taxes are lower.