Another bubbly year ahead?
2014 is likely to see continued buoyancy in the international fine art and antiques market and further improvement in Ireland
The Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection 1914 was the star lot in an auction of finest and rarest wines, selling for £24,910
Somewhere in the world this week, very expensive corks were popped to celebrate New Year. Before Christmas, Sotheby’s in London sold six bottles of 100-year-old champagne for a grand total of £24,910. That works out at about €830 per glass of bubbly.
The Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection 1914 was the star lot in an auction of finest and rarest wines.
The price wasn’t out of kilter during 2013, a year when the global super-rich went on a buying spree and world auction record prices were created in various categories including art, jewels and rare books.
Irish salerooms didn’t quite join this global party but there were signs of modest recovery after five years of post-Tiger gloom.
The early indications are that 2014 is likely to see continued buoyancy in the international market and further improvement in Ireland.
At auctions in Dublin and in the London sales of Irish art, the most popular artists in 2013 were the same names that have dominated salerooms for decades, including Paul Henry, Sir William Orpen, Walter Frederick Osborne, Sir John Lavery, William Leech, Seán Keating and Roderic O’Conor. There is no sign of any big change in 2014.
Auctioneers say there has been a shortage of good paintings being consigned to sale. Like the property market, some prospective vendors appear to be holding back and waiting for prices to recover after falls of more than 50 per cent after the 2008 crash. But, like the stock and property markets, it is almost impossible to time the art market accurately.
Anyone thinking of selling in the first quarter of 2014, whether a painting or a rare book, a piece of antique furniture or a Chinese porcelain vase, would want to get a move-on and ought, now, to be seeking valuations. Auctioneers are already accepting consignments for the first big sales of 2014 and have already begun announcing auction dates on their websites.
Among dates already announced: Whyte’s Irish and British Art on Monday, February 24th; de Veres Irish Art on Tuesday, March 25th; and Adam’s Irish Art on Wednesday, March 26th. A three-day auction of Antiques and Asian Art will take place at Sheppard’s in Durrow starting on February 25th; and, Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers will hold a rare books auction on March 7th. See auctioneers’ websites for other announcements.
For those who want, or need, to sell Irish art in London, all three major international auctioneers, Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have representatives in Ireland and undertake valuations here.
Vendors should bear in mind the costs involved, including auctioneers’ fees and, possibly capital gains tax. Buyers should note the price they will pay at auction is not just the hammer price. Count on paying about 20 per cent on top in buyer’s premium fees.
If a painting or sculpture is by an artist who has died within the past 70 years then the sale may also be levied to pay the Artist’s Resale Right. Whether selling or buying, always discuss the precise terms and conditions in advance with the auctioneer.
Advice for buyers
Anyone thinking of buying art in 2014 should heed the time-honoured advice: buy what you like and what you can afford. A painting bought for €100 from the railings of St Stephen’s Green during a People’s Art weekend can give as much pleasure to the buyer as a €100,000 canvas from the Adam’s saleroom across the road.