On Tuesday, Christie’s, the largest auction house in the world, reported that it generated $4.1 billion in sales in the first half of 2022. The figure represents an 18 percent rise over the result of $3.5 billion achieved during the same period last year.
Through live and online auctions, the house generated $3.5 billion between January and June, a 32 percent rise over the $2.65 billion achieved during the first half of 2021. The remainder of the funds came in through private sales.
But those private sales, which had previously brought in a significant amount of money to Christie’s, paled in comparison to what the house has reported in the past for this period. Christie’s brought in $600 million in private sale in the first six months of the year, a 29 percent decrease in last year’s figure of $850 million, marking an end to a several-year-long stretch of consistent growth on this front.
Private sales had been on the rise during the pandemic at Christie’s. Still, it is not entirely surprising that they decreased because private sales often diminish as public-facing auctions bring in more money.
In a statement, Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti spoke highly of those auctions. He said their strong results could in part be attributed to the sales of two major estates between Swiss dealers Thomas and Doris Amman and Texas heiress Anne M. Bass that together brought in a collective $688.2 million. He mentioned the “natural resilience,” of the art market during a “challenging economic and political environment.”
Christie’s reported an 87 percent sell-through rate on all property offered in the first half of 2022, the same as last year’s result, indicating steady demand among buyers.
The house said it 44 percent of its buyers were based in the Americas during the first half of the year, while 34 percent were based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Another 22 percent came from Asia. This was a notable decrease from the from the record participation of clients in Asia last year, who accounted for 39 percent of the total sales made in the first six months of 2021.
The house continues to place a focus on new collectors. Some 30 percent of all buyers in H1 were new to the 250-year-old house. Meanwhile, 34 percent of those new buyers were millennials, marking a small uptick from the 31 percent seen in 2021.