British auction house Christie’s said it had made $7.1 billion in sales of antiques, art, luxury goods, among others in 2021, according to projected annual preliminary results.
This year, sales were strong and they were enhanced by the auction of Dallas oil baron Edwin Cox’s Impressionist art holdings, which raked in $332 million.
The auction house said its total 2021 sales was the highest one it had seen in five years. The $7.1 billion brought in this year was 54 per cent higher than the total 2020 sales. Sales were also up 22% from 2019, which was before the coronavirus pandemic unfolded.
Some credit for the gain was given to NFTs (non-fungible tokens), or digital representations of art, music, and other items. Christie’s reported that it had sold $150 million in NFTs in 2021 of which $69 million was made with the sale of Beeple’s NFT Everydays: The First 5000 Days (2021).
CEO Guillaume Cerutti said: "Beyond our auction and private sales results - which are exceptional - Christie's has also made a breakthrough in new sales formats and categories, NFTS in particular. They have allowed us to showcase works by new emerging and under-represented artists, and to reach out to a new audience of younger clients."
The company said 75% of buyers in the category were new to Christie's and were an average age of 42.
In-person sales returned in a big way this year. Private sales remained solid, however, and Christie’s said that $1.7 billion of its total sales - nearly a quarter - came in privately.
The two most expensive works sold at the auction house were Pablo Picasso’s Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Therese), 1932, and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s In This Case (1983), which sold for $103.4 million and $93.1 million, respectively.
Christie’s is refocusing its attention on Asia, where a burgeoning art market in Hong Kong has spurred big sales at auction. The house said it had made $1.68 billion in sales to Asian collectors this year.
In 2024, Christie’s will open a new headquarters in Hong Kong.-TradeArabia News Service