Sotheby’s report shows high-value works dominating auction sales in 2022


Joe Baker
Joe Baker
Senior Copywriter
Joe is a Senior Copywriter working on reports, news and analysis. Previously, he worked as a B2B copywriter, journalist and editor covering a broad range of topics, including technology, transport,… Read more
  • A new report from Sotheby’s indicates that works of art worth more than $20m accounted for nearly half of total auction sales in 2022, up from less than a third in 2021.
  • The findings of Sotheby’s report are significant in illustrating the global art market’s continued strength and resilience.
  • This increase in the value of high-end artworks is a clear sign of a strong and healthy art market, indicating that buyers remain confident in investing in art.

A new report from Sotheby’s has revealed that works of art worth more than $20m accounted for nearly half of auction sales in 2022. This marks a significant increase from 2020, when works worth more than $20m accounted for only one-third of auction sales.

The report attributes the surge to increased demand from wealthy buyers, especially from Asia.

This trend will likely significantly affect money transfer services as wealthy buyers worldwide will look for fast and secure ways to move their funds to purchase highly sought-after pieces.

The report suggests that the increase in demand for high-value works is due to the growing number of wealthy individuals and families with access to capital and a greater emphasis on collecting art as an asset.

International investors consider a number of points when buying art, including the reputation of the auction house, the quality of the artwork and the local exchange rates that can dictate prices. 

The report also cites a shift in how collectors approach the market, with many now looking to add more high-value works to their collections.

The growth in the demand for high-value works has been seen across various categories, including modern and contemporary art, old masters and prints and photographs.

Sotheby’s notes that the demand has been solid in contemporary art, with works by Jeff Koons, David Hockney and Jean-Michel Basquiat setting new records in 2020 and 2021.

The report also highlights the growth in demand for Asian art, particularly Chinese and Japanese works, which have seen record-breaking sales in recent years.

It suggests that the demand for high-value works is part of  a more significant trend of increasing interest in art collecting as an asset.

The report notes that buyers are increasingly looking to art as a long-term investment, with many seeing it as a way to diversify their portfolios and protect their wealth.

The report suggests that the demand for high-value works will continue to grow in the coming years, with pieces worth more than $20m continuing to account for a large portion of auction sales.

Are you looking to add high-value works to your collection? If so, look at our money transfer comparison tool, which can help you compare the services available.

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