Sotheby’s have reported record sales of everything from Chinese artworks to antique chests. Preston antique auctioneers will be hard pressed to match the £3.17 billion achieved in 2010, but it’s heartening news, reflecting the upwards trend in antiques and fine art in general.
Sotheby’s is fast catching up to Christie’s as the world’s highest selling auction house, Christie’s 2010 tally being a record £3.3bn. For both these figures are the highest to date, and if the capital gains threshold on art and antiques is raised as promised, there will be even more incentive to buy.
Sotheby’s figures included both auction sales, which include modern art and fine wines as well as antique furniture and jewellery, and private sales, conducted away from the public showroom and more orientated towards “traditional” art and antiques. Sotheby’s auction sales outshone Christie’s – up a staggering 88%, against Christie’s 34%. The two are now neck-and-neck in this area, achieving £2.58bn and £2.64bn in auction sales respectively. Sotheby’s private sales increased by a more modest 5%, but still saw £309 million worth of goods change hands. Christie’s rise of 39% achieved £369.3m.
The shift away from big prestigious sale rooms signifies an increased interest in provincial antique furniture – good news for auction houses in Preston and Cumbria, where antique chests and Victorian dining chairs are their livelihood. If you’re wondering how antique dealers in Lancashire find the Victorian dining tables and antique desks which glow so magnificently in their showrooms, the answer is they buy from local sale rooms and private sellers, Restoring the furniture to its full beauty before selling it on.
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