Christie’s Announces Sales of $2.57 Billion for First Half of 2010

Christie’s, announced worldwide sales of £1.71 billion ($2.57 billion) for the first six months of 2010, up 46% by £ on last year’s figure of £1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for the same period (Figures include buyer’s premium).

Christie’s continued to lead at the highest levels of the art market selling 75% of the works sold for over $50 million in this period, including Nude, Green Leaves and Bust by Pablo Picasso which sold for $106.5 million / £70.2 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for any work of art. Christie’s global auction sales achieved 51% market share against its main competitor.

169 works of art sold for more than £1 million, compared to 201 sold during the same period last year. Sales totals include private sales of £182.7 million/$274.1 million, up 37% by £ on the same period last year. Strong results and sold percentages were also achieved across the regional markets and in the companion day sales that traditionally follow Christie’s evening sales.

Edward Dolman, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s states: “Global confidence in the art market has been evident throughout the first half of 2010 and we expect it to continue with our autumn sales. The power of great art sourced from notable collections has driven sales with Christie’s successfully chosen to present the Brody, Crichton, Sonde Tang and Spencer Collections, among others, to the marketplace. Great works continue to inspire and prices demonstrate a sustained commitment to art as a store of value.

“In 2009, the challenge of supply contrasted with buyer demand leading to consistent, high sold rates. In 2010 this has led to increased vendor confidence and at the higher end of the marketplace we have seen a number of key sales setting new price levels, most notably the Brody Picasso which established the new world record for a work of art sold at auction.

“Our results also reflect the growing role of Asia in the marketplace. We continue to see significant return on our investment and leadership in the region. In addition, Christie’s innovation and investment in technology, including a broader use of mobile platforms and continued appeal of Christie’s™ online bidding, have generated increased involvement from global clients.

“We continue to see strength and depth in both vendor confidence and buyer activity despite the broader economic context. After one of the most successful half years in our history, we approach the second half with cautious but optimistic expectations of continued art market strength.”

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