Art market: five things to know about the 2021 vintage

Published on 22 Dec. 2021 at 17: 19

1. “Big John”, the triceratops that makes Drouot happy

This is a result that says a lot about the evolution of the situation in Paris. While Drouot was raining and shining on the art market before the latter’s liberalization in 2000, opening the door wide to Anglo-Saxon multinationals, its records today are no longer necessarily achieved in this specialty. This year, it is an entire skeleton of triceratops awarded to a rich American for 6.6 million euros with costs by the Binoche house and Giquello, who won the prize of the lot 2021 the most expensive . A record in Europe, by the way, for a dinosaur.

2. NFT: the story behind the SMS sold 82. 132 euros

In France, it is currently prohibited by the Sales Council, the market control body, to auction an NFT (non-fungible token which acts as a certificate of authenticity) not attached to a physical good. A restrictive interpretation of the Commercial Code in the eyes of certain auctioneers. Even if a bill could be tabled to change the situation, it will take time. So some are cunning, like Millon who made an NFT sale in his branch in Brussels or Aguttes who has just sold for 600. . 600 euros the first SMS in history in the form of NFT . The trick? He sold the tablet on which the SMS appears! “And that got me almost 5. press articles around the world ”, welcomes Claude Aguttes.

The tablet displaying the first SMS, “Merry Christmas”, received by a Vodafone employee on December 3 1972. Alain JOcard / AFP

The Canadian SMS buyer, who works in new technologies, becomes the exclusive owner of this “Merry Christmas” received by Richard Jarvis, Vodafone employee. The telephone operator will donate the proceeds to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.

3. Small arrangements of Sotheby’s and Christie’s

Worldwide and even more in Paris, a city dear to their respective shareholders François Pinault and Patrick Drahi, Christie’s and Sotheby’s do everything every year to cross the finish line the premie r. This year the first one added to its results the 10 millions of the judicial sale of manuscripts (seized in the Aristophil affair) carried out by the Aguttes company in its premises. And this while Aguttes paid Christie’s for this service. The second included in its performance the 9.4 million car sales of its Canadian subsidiary RM in Paris and the 12 millions of the first part of the Lagerfeld sale carried out in Monaco .

4. The insolent profitability of Fauve

The little house Fauve Paris, which will be the first to accept payment in cryptocurrency for physical goods from January, never ceases to amaze. Besides that she organized 34 sales in 2021, almost once a week, it gives off a profitability to make many colleagues pale. Its auction volume is modest: 7 million euros; but its operating margin is 46% on turnover (commissions on sellers and buyers) of 2 million, up 82%.

A performance achieved thanks to the average basket of its customers multiplied by 5 in two years, at reduced costs because it has its own sales and storage space, its tight negotiations with sellers: easier when it is not a question to win the flagship lots that the big houses are snapping up and at high marketing costs. Sotheby’s posted in 2019 a worldwide loss of 66 millions of dollars for an auction volume of 5.7 billion dollars and in 2016 a profit of “only” 82 millions.

5. Old cars in the garage

Usually, Rétromobile and Le Mans Classic are two highlights for collectors of vintage cars and attract a large foreign clientele in France. The first is a very popular show in which Artcurial is organizing an auction, encouraging the English Bonhams and the Canadian RM Sotheby’s to carry theirs in parallel to Paris, one to the Grand Palais, the other to the Invalides. The second brings together car races and an Artcurial sale during a weekend at Le Mans.

Matra MS 600 sold on February 5 2021 at 6.9 millions including fees at Artcurial Philippe Louzon for Artcurial

In the absence of these two flagship events, salespeople remained cautious. Suddenly we are far this year from the usual records, such as this auctioned Ferrari 31 millions in 2001, even if with a Matra of 1933 sold for 6.9 million, the French house has won the world record for this brand. Artcurial therefore fervently prays that Retromobile 2021 scheduled from 2 to 6 February Porte de Versailles, is not canceled. But will foreigners be there?