NY Ivory Laws Ammended

The Antiques Trade Gazette is reporting the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) amended its guidance to allow sale of items that are at least 100 years old and contain less than 20% ivory to be sold. This should allow the sale of antique items with ivory accents such as boxes, canes, musical instruments etc, so long as the ivory content is less than 20%. It will also allow the sale of ivory miniatures, as it deems the ivory content very thin, and is therefore presuming the content is less than 20%.  The presumption can be challenged on a case by case basis. OK, you have to love the bureaucratic process.

The ATG reports on the new NY DEC guidance, see the applicable sections from the NY DEC Q&A is in the second block quote, and the full Q&A can be found by following the source link under the second block quote.
New York to permit trade in ivory miniatures

Guidance issued this month by the authorities charged with implementing New York’s latest ivory laws has offered a few crumbs of comfort to art dealers and owners of antique ivory works of art.

In particular, while the ban remains near wholesale, the trade in portrait miniatures will be permitted within the state lines, under rules outlined by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

It is a last-minute amendment to the bill - one that permits the sale of items at least 100 years old that contain less than 20% ivory - which has provided the 'wriggle room'.

The guidance around the 20% rule issued by the DEC on December 4 allows for the possibility that canes with ivory handles and boxes and caddies that use ivory veneers around a timber carcass can be sold.

Under the heading How do I determine whether ivory… comprises less than 20% of an antique?, the notes say "a reasonable estimate of volume, weight or surface area is acceptable".

Importantly, the document (available via the DEC website) includes a specific clause permitting the sale of portrait miniatures on the grounds that the veneer of ivory used as a support is "no thicker than a piece of paper".

In addition, the guidance states: "The percentage of ivory by volume used in the portrait miniature will be presumed less than 20%."

Rhinoceros horn and mammoth ivory are subject to the same rules that passed into law in August, despite opposition from Sotheby's, Christie's and trade associations including the Art and Antiques Dealers League of America and the Appraisers Association of America.

US Federal laws introduced in February, covering the entire United States, already tightly restrict ivory imports and interstate sales.

In essence, these nationwide regulations ban the commercial import of African ivory of any age, while domestic and export trade will be limited to antiques defined as objects more than 100 years old.
Source: The Antiques Trade Gazette 

16. How do I determine whether ivory or horn comprises less than 20% of an antique?
• For antiques whose ivory or rhinoceros horn includes one or more pieces of worked ivory or rhinoceros horn attached to a body made of other material (such as a cane with an ivory handle or tip, buttons or pulls), evidence should be submitted as to the overall three-dimensional volume or weight of the ivory or horn piece(s) in relation to the overall three-dimensional volume or weight of the object.
• For antiques whose ivory or rhinoceros horn consists primarily of thin slices inlaid into
the surface, evidence should be submitted as to the surface area or volume of the inlays in relation to the overall surface area or volume of the object.
• A reasonable estimate of volume, weight or surface area is acceptable. Evidence may
include pictures, calculations and other data.
• For antiques that contain recent, non-original additions to the object, the new parts must be reasonably consistent with the original configuration of the antique as a whole. Nonoriginal additions may not be considered in determining whether the object meets the 20% threshold for antiques to the extent that they reduce the proportion of ivory or horn in the object.

17. Are portrait miniatures less than 20% by volume of ivory?
A portrait miniature is a miniature portrait painting usually made between the 18th-century and the early 20th-century that used ivory as the medium for the painting. The ivory used in these works was no thicker than a piece of paper. Although the circumference is not standard, the volume of ivory used is approximately the same percentage for every portrait miniature. The percentage of ivory by volume used in the portrait miniature will be presumed less than 20%. However, this presumption may be rebutted by evidence to the contrary on a case-by-case basis.
Source: NY DEC 


A Look at the Judaica Market

The New York Observer has an interesting article on the strength now being scene in the Judaica market.  In the 2014 edition and the 2012 edition of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies, fellow appraiser Elizabeth Berman contributed excellent articles on appraising Judaica.  Both are well worth reading, or re-reading.

The article notes quality lots selling at auction for over their estimates, as well as Sotheby's NY Judaica sale selling $2.79 million in 2013 and selling $6.33 million in 2014. The article notes the interest is coming from more than the US and European private collectors, but from cultural institutions and museums.

The NY Observer article is a good introduction to current market trends, while Elizabeth's Journal articles, title The Challenges of Appraising Judaica, Part 1 and Part 2 would be the next logical step for understanding this sector. Click here to order a copy of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies.

The NY Observer reports
In the early 18th century, Jews in Europe began to commission handwritten and gorgeously decorated Hebrew books. One of the leading craftsmen of these was Aryeh Judah Leib Sofer ben Elhanan Katz of Treibitsch, known for his readable text, beautiful illustrations and page trim of gold. In 1716, he created his second full work, Ashkenazi Prayer Book for the Entire Year; Book of Psalms. Earlier this month, the nearly 300-year-old manuscript went on the block at Sotheby’s in New York with a price estimate of $550,000 to $750,000. It soared to $875,000.

Sotheby’s holds a sale of Judaica every December in New York, specifically timed for Hanukkah. This year’s sale, like most, included prayer books, Hagaddahs and manuscripts, synagogue objects such as Torahs, mantles, finials and crowns, and household items such as seder compendiums and menorahs. But this auction raised $6.33 million, a leap from the $2.79 million raised at 2013’s sale, and well above the sale’s high estimate. About three out of every four works offered sold.

Who’s bidding? While private collectors in the U.S., Israel and Europe tend to be the largest group, Sotheby’s senior vice president Jennifer Roth said that museums eager to address gaps in their collections have become a growing force in this market. “I think it is part of … museums’ efforts to become more diverse in their collections,” she said. American museums “didn’t have much or any of this material before, and know that it’s time to acquire.”

Consider that just five years ago, one of the nation’s great encyclopedic museums, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, had no Judaica in its collection. Then, in 2009, a retired elementary school educator from Kansas, Jetskalina Phillips, left the bulk of her estate to the MFA to support the acquisition, study, and display of the material. So, last year, the MFA acquired the Charles and Lynn Schusterman collection of Judaica, featuring over 100 examples of silver and metalwork, textiles, ceramics, paintings and sculpture, among other objects.

“Jetskalina Phillips’ donation was a bolt out of the blue, and the Schusterman gift was part of a snowball effect,” said Marietta Cambareri, curator of decorative arts and sculpture and, now, the Jetskalina H. Phillips curator of Judaica at the MFA.

A rare German silver Torah shield, circa 1710, flanked by figures of King David and Moses, sold for $65,000 at Sotheby’s December 4. (photographs Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
A rare German silver Torah shield, circa 1710, flanked by figures of King David and Moses, sold for $65,000 at Sotheby’s December 4. (photographs Courtesy of Sotheby’s)

The Boston MFA is just one of several institutions “filling in the gaps” of their collections, so to speak, with purchases of Judaica, which is defined broadly as ritual objects and other artifacts related to the history and culture of the Jewish people.

An institutional buying spree kicked off in 2013 with the sale of the Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica collection at auction. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem jointly acquired the Steinhardt’s Mishneh Torah as a private sale; The Met also purchased at auction a circa 1740 Venetian silver Torah crown for $857,000 (double its pre-sale estimate) and a pair of circa 1896 Russian silver Torah finials for $43,750 (the pre-sale estimate was $20,000-$30,000).

That same sale saw purchases by New York’s Jewish Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art. Other active institutional buyers in the Judaica market, Ms. Roth said, have been the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Sadly, very little Judaica from before the 18th century survives, as pogroms destroyed objects as well as people in Europe. “Most of what you see for sale is 19th century or later,” said Michael Ehrenthal, part-owner of Moriah Galleries in Manhattan, which is one of the few shops in the country specializing in Judaica. “Older than that, pieces are quite rare and more expensive.”

The oldest lot in the most recent Sotheby’s sale was a 1533 proclamation in Italian listing the “Privileges of the Jews of Duchy of Milan,” identifying their rights to engage in commerce, lend money, live in their own communities and other practices (it sold for $8,125, against a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-8,000).

Strangely, almost all of the antique ritual pieces—the Torah finials, mantles, shields and crowns, the Seder plates and spice boxes—were not made by Jews.

“All the crafts, like silversmithing, were controlled by European guilds, and Jews weren’t allowed into the guilds,” said Bernard Bernstein, a silversmith who teaches a course on Judaica metalsmithing at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Jews commissioned gentile silversmiths to create ritual objects, writing out the Hebrew characters that the silversmiths were told to engrave or set into the pieces.

Jonathan Greenstein, president of J. Greenstein & Co. in Cedarhurst, N.Y., which exclusively auctions Judaica, noted, “We constantly find Hebrew characters that are a little wrong, but the silversmiths usually did a good job.” Those silversmiths included their own stamped signatures or marks on the ritual objects they made, which is a principal way to check the pieces’ authenticity. “There are a lot of fakes and forgeries out there,” he warned.

By the 19th century, European Jews were becoming more assimilated into general European culture, some attending art academies and producing paintings and sculptures of their own in the styles popular at the time. One of the stand-out pieces in the Sotheby’s sale was an undated late 19th century oil on panel Portrait of a Rabbi by Isidor Kaufmann, an Austro-Hungarian (1853-1921), estimated at $200,000-$300,000. “It is a realistic portrait of a particular person,” Ms. Roth said, “but it is also a generalized portrait, representing the dignity and wisdom of the Jewish sage.” Part of its appeal, she added, is that it depicts a disappearing world. It brought $281,000.

Today, among the most sought-after types of Judaica include 20th century modern pieces by Polish-born Ilya Schor as well as Ludwig Wolpert and David Gumbel. All were academically trained in Germany before the Second World War and produced Jewish ritual objects in a more modernist style. “Their work is extremely collectible,” Mr. Greenstein said. “Modernism is just cool, and people love to decorate their homes with it.”

The Sotheby’s sale was light in more modern and Contemporary Judaica, but did include a set of seven 1997-99 silver Kiddush cups by Israeli silversmith Menahem Berman (they sold for $43,750, against an estimate of $40,000-$60,000), as well as a circa-1996 bronze Statue of Liberty Menorah by Manfred Anson, a German-born American.

The menorah was similar to one by the artist that has been on public view at the Smithsonian. It features nine tiny Statues of Liberty, each holding a Hanukkah   candle aloft in her torch. Estimated at $5,000 to $7,000, it sold for $8,125.
Source: New York Observer


The Year in Review

It is that time of the year again, or already, where we look back at the art market for 2014. Spear's Wealth Management recently posted a year in review. It is not an in-depth look, as I am sure more of those are coming, but touches on some of the record sales, Sotheby's and eBay's partnership, and notes of slowing Asian sales and a lack of art market regulation.  Again, just a very quick review, with few details.

Spear's reports
It's been a substantial year in art, not least in the continued growth of the market: sales from Christie's and Sotheby's alone in the first six months of this year were 88 per cent of the 2013 total, and that was before Christie's record-breaking $853 million sale in November. Deloitte and ArtTactic's Art & Finance Report 2014 predicted another record year, and they're surely right.

The auction houses are looking to tap new markets online with Sotheby's and eBay partnering, while the rise of online valuers, challenging the big firms, is also shaking up the establishment. As it branches into luxury goods, Christie's is no longer being described as a 'cross between a museum and a gentlemen's club'. And we heard from Melanie Gerlis about whether art can be considered an investment.

Sir Nicholas Serota topped the Art Review Power 100, marking a year of considerable success for Tate, who scored smash hits with Matisse's cut-outs and a recreation of Malevich's 1915 Petrograd show 0.10 within a timely exposure of the modernist master. Unsurprisingly, Tate are planning a big 2015 following the revamping of Tate Britain and the ongoing expansion of Tate Modern.Earlier in the year Spear's highlighted the importance of philanthropy and commercial partners for the art behemoth.

The role and passions of individual HNW patrons was also examined by Josh Spero in his article on Ziba Ardalan and ten years of the contemporary gallery she founded, Parasol Unit. Away from the contemporary scene Josh (a trained classicist) also looked at the antiquities market in an interview with Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Across the pond Spear's arts editor Anthony Haden-Guest asked if tech art's natural home is Silicon Valley and interviewed artist-cum-funambulist Philippe Petit: "'I can walk thousands of feet above concrete,' he said. 'It doesn't bother me. But water terrifies me. It is not my element.' Philippe Petit, it emerged, cannot swim." Anthony also looked into the world of fakes and the enviable if amoral ability of Salvador DalĂ­ to make money from signing bits of paper (allegedly 350,000).

The art world is in rude health but not everyone is benefitting, with galleries and therefore artists being priced out of Mayfair. There are also challenges in the form of slowing Asian markets and a lack of regulation.

Thankfully, away from the profit and the loss we have been treated to a year of exciting and interesting exhibitions. There was also Turner at Tate Britain, the V&A's Russian avant-garde theatre show, John Smart at Philip Mould and plenty besides.
Source: Spear's Wealth Management 


Selling vs Charitable Donations

Fellow appraiser and AW blog reader  Jeanie Craig of Art Collection Management sent me a link to a recent Wall Street Journal article on selling vs charitable donations. The article looks at a fictional donation based upon cost, donors annual income and current value of the painting. Although the article incorrectly states an appraisal is need on items value over $20,000 when it should be $5000.

Overall a simple review, but an interesting article and one that certainly can be of assistance when consulting with a client over selling or donating.

The Wall Street Journal report
For investors thinking about donating art, the most important thing to know is this: It isn’t as simple as…donating art.

The benefits of a donation are clear. The owners may have a fondness for a particular museum or university they have in mind as a recipient, for instance. And the ego gratification is powerful.

“There’s a legacy involved,” says Ralph Lerner, founder of Art World Advisors, which helps collectors determine what to do with their art. “You get your name on a plaque on the wall. You can take your grandchildren to the museum to show them the plaque.”

But ego aside, donors have a lot of factors to consider before making a decision. Among them: Selling may bring them far more money than they can save with a tax break for their donation. If they donate, the tax break varies depending on who the donation goes to and what the recipient does with it. And the recipient may have very different ideas from the donor’s about how the art will be displayed.

Running the Numbers
First, investors need to be aware of the difference, for their finances, between selling and donating. Peter Jason Riley, a certified public accountant in Newburyport, Mass., ran the numbers for a hypothetical U.S. taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of $500,000 who owns a painting appraised at $100,000 that she had purchased for $20,000.

How America Gives to Charity
What happens if she donates the painting? For donations of art, owners generally can claim a federal tax deduction of up to 30% of their adjusted gross income each year, making the limit in this case $150,000. So donating the painting to a qualifying museum would permit this owner a deduction in the current tax year of $100,000, assuming she hasn’t made other art donations totaling more than $50,000. (If donations in a given year exceed the limit for deductions, the overage can be deducted in following years, up to five if necessary, with the 30% limit applying each year.)

That means the tax benefit this year for the donor in this case would be $41,118, according to Mr. Riley.

If the painting was sold for the appraised value of $100,000, assuming a typical 15% sales commission to an auction house or art gallery, the seller would owe $31,372 in capital-gains tax, resulting in a net profit of $53,628, Mr. Riley says.

So the owner would end up $12,510 better off by selling than by donating. That doesn’t take into account the cost of an appraisal—typically $1,000 to $3,000—which isn’t always necessary for a sale but would be required in this case before the artwork was donated. The Internal Revenue Service requires an appraisal for donations of property over $20,000.

Selling won’t always be better financially. For one thing, selling might net far less than the appraised value of a piece of art. But this is an exercise owners should work through to get a sense of what they might be sacrificing by donating.

How Much of a Deduction?
Art owners also should be aware that their tax break for a donation will depend on several factors. In some cases, donors can claim a tax deduction based on the appraised value of the art. But in others the deduction is based on the price the donor paid for the art, which can be much lower than the appraised value.

One factor: The donor’s deduction can only be based on the appraised value of the art if the recipient qualifies as a public tax-exempt organization. If the recipient is a private tax-exempt organization, the deduction is based on the price the donor paid.

A public tax-exempt organization is one that receives at least one-third of its support from the general public; museums, universities and other schools, hospitals and churches are among the institutions that generally qualify. A private tax-exempt organization doesn’t rely on funding from the public. The Ford Foundation is one prominent example, and there are many private foundations funded by wealthy individuals.

But that’s not the only distinction the IRS makes. A deduction can’t be based on the appraised value of the art unless the donation is related to the recipient’s mission. Few recipients except museums are likely to pass that test. For donations to recipients that fail that test, the deduction is based on what the donor paid for the art.

Donations that clear both those hurdles face another one. If the recipient sells the art within three years, the amount deductible by the donor reverts to the purchase price instead of the appraised value—potentially leaving the donor with a bill for back taxes.

One other tax-related issue for those who deduct the appraised value of a donation: The IRS subjects appraisals to review by its Art Advisory Panel, which is composed of art dealers and museum curators. And the panel often makes substantial adjustments to appraisals.

Taxpayers may be subject to substantial penalties if the IRS finds that the donated items are significantly overvalued, so it’s imperative that the appraiser has a legitimate basis for arriving at a valuation, such as comparable sales.
Donation Negotiations
Finally, it isn’t only the IRS that can take some of the fun out of a donation. Recipients can be prickly about how the art will be displayed—or even if it will be at all.

In this case, though, donors have some leverage. Art experts encourage donors to negotiate the terms for their gifts before turning over the art. For instance, the donor might demand that the art be on display for at least three months every three years—or on permanent display.

Or in the case of multiple works being donated, owners might demand that the art be given a special exhibition and be written up in a catalog, and that the pieces must be kept together and none of them can be sold. A donor can also demand perks like free lifetime membership at the highest level for family members.

If a potential recipient balks at a donor’s terms, the owner can look for a more pliable recipient. But donors who have their hearts set on the most prominent institutions as recipients should expect less flexibility.

“I encourage people to donate to universities and smaller museums,” says Susan Brundage, director of appraisal services at the Art Dealers Association of America. “They are thrilled to get something that might be seen as minor by the Met or the Modern or the Whitney.Those larger museums will only put most donations in their basements, never to see the light of day.”

And no plaque for the grandchildren to see.
Source: The Wall Street Journal


Record Photograph Sale?

Forbes is reporting on an interesting situation which should be of interest to many appraisers.  The article references a gallery sale by Australian photographer Peter Lik through the Peter Lik U.S. gallery network for a record $6.5 million.

What I found more interesting than the actual sale and possible record prices is the speculation behind the sale as well as understanding different market levels. This particular sale through the Lik Gallery network has no supporting documentation the sale actually took place other than the galleries claim, which may be publicity based.  Additionally, Lik's work has limited value on the secondary market.

The article also notes that only half the artwork sold is through auctions, which has at least some transparency, but private gallery sales show even less transparency. Additionally, but without supporting statistics and relying on statements by consultants, the article claims 90% of artwork sold through a gallery is worth less as soon as you walk out the door.  I agree to a certain extent, as the collector may not have access to all market levels.

An interesting article to read and keep in mind about buying and selling at different market levels.

Forbes reports
Earlier this week, Australian photographer Peter Lik’s network of galleries in the U.S., Lik USA, announced the sale of “the most expensive photograph in history” when the black-and-white photo below sold to a private collector for $6.5 million. The sale of Peter Lik’s Phantom was widely reported in the media, and if true, certainly represents a new record compared to any photograph sold at auction recently. Andreas Gursky holds that record for Rhein II, which fetched $4.3 million at Christie’s in November 2011.

However, writing today in the Australian newspaper The Age, arts journalist Andrew Taylor cast doubt on whether this astonishing Peter Lik sale actually happened at all. He points out that there is no documentary proof that the private sale to an unknown buyer occurred, beyond what is said in the press release. He adds that Lik’s work has been “ignored by major art galleries and dismissed by critics. When his photos have gone up for public auction, they have not sold well.” His article also includes a 2012 quote from art consultant David Hulme that “if I was advising a client on a $1 million art purchase, I would be extremely wary of purchasing a Peter Lik photograph, however good it is. This is because Peter Lik’s photographs have no secondary market or value.”

This story is a reminder of how incredibly murky the art market is, when all of the data we have about art sales globally comes from the auction market, which only accounts for around half of total sales. The rest of global art sales occur privately through galleries and dealers who often don’t make any of their prices public or only offer this information up on an anecdotal basis. We’re basically grappling with a market where price information on half of the sales that occur is pretty much unknowable, which makes Peter Lik’s claim suspect, even if this work did sell for $6.5 million. Like the rest of us, he only has auction records and other anecdotal information to go on, so has no way of definitively knowing whether this is “the most expensive photograph in history” or not.

It’s also a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about photography, or any art work, as an investment. It should be pretty obvious that paying a lot of money for a piece does not mean that you will make money if you sell it, but you are unlikely to sell it at all if there’s little or no secondary market for that artist. As I’ve written before, according to some art consultants, 90% of art sold in galleries today is worth less as soon as you’ve purchased it. The moral of this tale? Look before you leap.
Source: Forbes


Reminder: Eli Wilner Frame Webinar for Monday at Noon & ISA Conference Update

Register for Dec. 15 Webinar to Gain Expert Instruction from Eli Wilner & Company
Learn the Art of Frame Values from Eli Wilner & Company Experts
Don't miss ISA's webinar, "Reclaiming a Masterpiece: Recreating the Original Frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware" on Monday, Dec. 15.  This is your opportunity to gain expert instruction on determining frame values from the experts at Eli Wilner & Company.
Date: Monday, Dec. 15
Time: 12:00 noon CST1:00pm EST
Price: $50
Suzanne E. Smeaton, a frame historian with Eli Wilner & Company, will share her expertise on frames by focusing on one of the company's largest and most recent projects, the stunning hand-carved and gilded replica of the lost original frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Issues that impact on value such as restoration and rarity will be included. It will marry scholarship to appraisal methodology, and values will be specifically covered.
The webinar is the first in a series of collaborative continuing education programs in development with our industry allies.   
About the experts:
Eli Wilner & Company is known today as the foremost American authority on period framing, and will be represented in this webinar by frame historian, Suzanne E. Smeaton. Founded by Eli Wilner in 1983, the gallery specializes in European and American frames from the 15th century to the present. Suzanne Smeaton is a pioneer of period frame study and scholarship through her more than 27 years with Eli Wilner & Company. She has worked extensively in the field of American period frames, written articles for publications such as The Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe Magazine AntiquesPicture Framing Magazine and American Art, and has curated numerous museum frame exhibitions both individually and in concert with curators at many museums.
Eli Wilner Logo


And, dont forget to register for the ISA Annual Conference, Assets 2015, Above and Beyond in Philadelphia, March 20-23, 2015.  According to the ISA conference attendees page, it appears that there are already nearly 120 registered appraisers. Given the early registration numbers, it is entirely possible that ISA will see a record in attendance for its annual conference in Philadelphia in March.

Sponsorship opportunities, which is an important indicator in how an organization and conference viability is viewed by related business and organizations, such as insurers and auction houses, has been gaining traction. Freeman's and Eli Wilner are the conferences Platinum Sponsors, Chubb and Great Gadsby Auctions as Gold Sponsors, and the Potomack Company, Bonhmas, Collector Systems and Quinns have singed on as Silver Sponsors.  After breaking sponsorship records at ISA conference in Chicago in 2013, then breaking it again  in Kansas City in 2014, it looks as if the record may fall again in Philadelphia. I think the record sponsorship speaks volumes on how ISA is now positioned and perceived in the marketplace.

If you have not registered, do so before the next discounted registration period (only $600.00) ends on Jan 31, 2015. Click on the graphic below for more information.


Mei Moses Tracking Report Through November

Mei Moses Fine Art Indexes has just released their November 2014 financial performance figures, and the index shows a strong November, gaining back losses from earlier in the year.  That being said, the art index is still under performing the equities market.

Below is the press release on the art market financial results and a synopsis of the full report.  The full report is available to subscribers of the Beautiful Assets Advisors site and the Mei Moses art indexes.

The Mei Moses press release on the tracking report states


Our expanded data collection efforts provide sufficient and timely incremental data allowing us to analyze the world art auction market on a near continuous basis. We create monthly tracking reports for the Mei Moses® world all art index for the cumulative world wide sales that have transpired during the year up to the end of each month. We treat the sales in each successive year-to-date period as if they represented transactions for the full year. The figure on the first page shows the 2012 end-of-year value for the new index (set at a value of 1.0) and twelve alternative projections for 2013 end of year values based on the successive monthly sales. There are no auctions in August so we do not include that month in our analysis. The twelfth point becomes the true value for 2013 since it is based on all transactions in that year. This process is replicated for the current year.

The figure also compares the world art index with the monthly closing values of two total return equity indexes. We now also supply a three month moving average of the world all art index for those individuals who feel that the relationship between this average and the actual index, like the fifty day moving average in stocks, provides information as to whether it is currently a good time to make purchase or sale decisions. The fall auction season reaches its zenith in November. Our data collection and reporting efforts based on 48 Sotheby’s and Christie’s world wide auctions that occurred in November 2014 produced 712 repeat sale pairs from all of our seven collecting categories. These range from a small Old Masters (OM19C) sale to the major Post War and Contemporary (PWC) and Impressionist and Modern (IMPMOD) works of art sales in New York. There were also Traditional Chinese works of art (TCWA) sales in Hong Kong. There were also IMPMOD and PWC sale in Amsterdam and the major semi-annual American paintings (AMP) and Latin American Painting (LAP) sales in New York and British Painting (BRP) sales in London. The repeat sale pairs created by these sales allowed us to create the Mei Moses® world all art tracking index for November which produced the aforementioned flat result as compared to the closing value for year end 2013.

Strong results in the PWC and TCWA sales were dragged down by weak results of the IMPMOD and OLM19C sales which contributed to the flat index results reported earlier. The results show that even the excitement of major IMPMOD, PWC and TCWA sales could not jar the markets out of their lethargy and did little to reverse a continued lack of growth in the general art auction market. The three regional collecting categories AMP, LAP, BRP showed some signs of life yielding results similar to their
historical averages rather than the below average results of the last few years.

Please note that prior performance of our indexes does not guarantee future results. In addition, there is no guarantee that random collections of individual works of art or stocks will yield index returns. We are not financial advisors and we are not in the business of recommending art as an investment. We also have no comparative advantage in forecasting the future direction of the art market. Investment decisions should be based on the risk return tolerance and time horizon of the investor with, if desired the support of a licensed financial advisor. This information is provided "as is" and with no representations or warranties either express or implied of accuracy, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or of any other nature are made with respect to this information or to any expressed views presented in this information.
Source: Beautiful Asset Advisors/Mei Moses Fine Art Index