Art-auction headlines tend to reflect sales prices and trends among the highest-valued artworks.
These multimillion-dollar transactions, though, don’t always reflect what’s really happening with overall art prices or prices for specific fine-art markets.
The Mei Moses Fine Art Indexes from Beautiful Asset Advisors, however, provide deeper insight into these markets, because the indexes track repeat sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
For example, if a painting sold at auction in 1995 and didn’t change hands again until 2012, Mei Moses would add the object and the two prices to its database in 2012.
That information allows the firm to calculate a compound average rate of return for this particular piece for the period between transactions. The firm says this approach allowed the firm to add almost 3,100 objects to its database last year.
The results can be surprising–as shown by a major-piece example highlighted in the firm’s recent analysis of 2012’s sales.
Picasso’s Nature Morte Aux Tulipes sold for $41.5 million in November 2012. The previous transaction price was $28.6 million in 2000, which Mei Moses calculates produced a 3.0% compound annual return for the seller.