Art finance

Financial arrangements regarding the buying and selling of art have their roots in old-school pawnbrokers. Practices have greatly developed over the years and now encompass art loans and guarantees underwritten by auctioneers or third parties.

Are your business rates too high?

14 October 2003

THE Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors have launched a Business Rates helpline which offers free advice to businesses across the UK. There is also a new, easy to understand leaflet available by calling the same number – 0870 333 1600.

Global fine art market paints a dramatic picture

15 September 2003

TURNOVER and the number of fine art items offered at auction globally have fallen dramatically this year, according to two of the leading market trackers. The British-based Art Sales Index, who record hammer prices of pictures over £250/$400, sculpture and miniatures over £1000/$2000 and photographs and prints over £2000/$3000, have noted an 11.5 per cent drop in the number of lots offered from the 2001/2002 season to that of 2002/2003.

VC boosts total to £1m

20 August 2003

Well, it’s happened at last! The first £1million sale of campaign medals and awards (ODM) has taken place. It took Dix Noonan Webb (15% buyer’s premium) 1155 lots to disperse this assemblage. The total was £1,013,510 and this is the hammer total so there was no fudging with the buyer’s premium to jack the total over the magic number.

Partridge reinvent themselves and start reaping the benefits

18 August 2003

LAST year was not a good year for Partridge Fine Art – in fact according to John Partridge, the firm, founded in 1905, suffered their worst set of results in his 46-year chairmanship. Now, however, a change in business direction is helping the Bond Street dealership – one of the capital’s most venerable and traditional – to turn their fortunes around.

Christie’s reveal performance of salerooms and departments

18 August 2003

Christie’s have announced worldwide sales totalling £589m ($947m) for the first six months of 2003, again laying claim to the title of the world’s leading auction house. This compares with a dollar total for the same period last year of $989m, a fall of just over four per cent. Of this, auction sales make up £549m ($883m) and private sales £40m ($64m).

A lick of paint adds a zero to the price…

12 August 2003

Anyone who has studied the Americana market in any detail will know how important surfaces have become to its many folk art aficionados. Original paint is not just a bonus – it can often be the difference between $1000 and $10,000. And it can happen here, too.

Supply fears as strong mainland Chinese buying leaves its mark

12 August 2003

HONG KONG ASIAN SALES : When SARS broke out in Asia earlier this year, Sotheby’s decided to hold their Asian auction series in Hong Kong as planned in April, but Christie’s postponed their Hong Kong sales until early July. Sotheby’s may not have registered the same levels of Western interest in their two fine Chinese sales on April 27 (the combined 281 lots totalled a premium-inclusive HK$106,481,440), but like Christie’s, they reported increased mainland Chinese buying.

Movement of art and antiques shows dramatic swings

11 August 2003

THE latest figures published by Customs and Excise show a significant leap in fine art and antiques imports and exports for 2002. Exports to non-European Union countries rose by more than 20 per cent from 2001, while imports went up by 16.5 per cent.

Sotheby’s ride out events and look to the autumn

11 August 2003

THE Iraq war and the SARS epidemic hit Sotheby’s consignments and sales in the second quarter of this year, with total revenues down $8m on the same period last year.

eBay shows sustained growth

28 July 2003

Ebay, flourishing survivors of the e-commerce boom and bust, have again out-performed forecasts, showing continued strong growth in the second quarter of 2003. The California-based company, who now include the electronic-payments business PayPal in their revenues, showed profits of $109.7m on a turnover of $509.3m.

Bristol firm gets new lease of life

15 July 2003

DRAWING on long-ago mercantile wealth (don’t mention the slave trade or even, these days, tobacco imports) Bristol has for years rewarded visits by dealers looking for fresh material. But of late the city has been raising its profile as a premier league centre for antiques.

Christie’s look for growth in middle market

30 June 2003

Even as the million-pound Impressionist and Modern pictures were being knocked down in their King Street saleroom last week, Christie’s were reconfirming their commitment to the currently troubled middle market sector.

June fairs do nothing to cheer the middle market

24 June 2003

THE long-suffering middle and lower ranges of the trade can take little solace from business patterns at the June fairs in London, the hub of the capital’s most intense dealing period. With a total of some 500 professional dealers exhibiting at the major fairs, it was those with the rarer, better quality stock who were making sales, despite high price tags.

Taking the shop to stay-at-home US collectors

19 June 2003

EVEN if it means shipping their stock across the Atlantic, there are more and more of the British trade who are determined that the Americans reluctance to travel over here is not going to stop us selling to them over there.

BADA survey reflects difficult trading times

17 June 2003

Lack of Americans hits top dealers. As American buyers stayed away, sales by 400 of Britain’s top art and antiques dealers fell by almost a tenth last year. This was one of the key findings of the fourteenth annual British Antique Dealers’ Association survey covering trading in 2001-02, completed by 58 per cent of members including well-known names such as Richard Green, Mallett and S.J. Phillips.

Sales and costs up in first quarter

20 May 2003

IN the week that former chairman Alfred Taubman was finally released from jail, Sotheby’s announced first quarter total revenues of $47.6m, 4.8 per cent up on the same period last year.

Dublin sale bodes well for upcoming London events

14 May 2003

THE London Irish sales are the annual litmus test of the very top end of the Irish picture market. Upcoming at the time of writing, this year’s sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s (May 15 and 16) seem to lack the numbers of big hitting pictures seen over the past ten years, reflecting the reluctance of vendors to come into today’s nervous market in which estimates are based upon realities rather than the wishful thinking that used to be good enough.

Wine and candleglow begin to stir bidders in long subdued market

08 May 2003

LOOKING back on spring to see what green shoots of recovery might be discernible, a rather unexpected contender for the category turns out to be silver. Obviously, silver starts any recovery from a pretty low and long-standing trough but some of the results round the country certainly indicated that there was more than just auctioneers’ wishful thinking behind the optimistic comments.

Proof that some silver does do well

08 May 2003

WHILST it is widely acknowledged that the antiques trade is currently suffering a significant downturn, the silver market has been in the doldrums for much longer.

Islamic sales remain steady in wake of war

08 May 2003

THE war in Iraq does not appear to have had any obvious effect on the latest series of lslamic sales, held in London last week. There was still an international turnout for the three main auctions of Islamic works of art and, in a field usually characterised by selective buying, the selling rates were not especially different, with a take-up in lot terms ranging from just over half the content at Bonhams and Christie’s King Street to just over two thirds at Sotheby’s.



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