New here? Read up on our past Cultural Assets issues to get the most from this post.
May 25, 2022 | ± 6 minutes
- Our analysis of the Cultural Assets market for the year & last week
- All you need to know about any current drops
- A heads up on any auctions we think are worth checking out
Table of Contents
This Year in Cultural Assets
Cultural assets have moved up slightly on fractional marketplaces Rally and Otis but still remain dipped into negative territory.
A reminder: This follows an overall downward trend on these marketplaces and probably has less to do with the asset class itself and more to do with a lack of liquidity on the platforms.
Last Week in Cultural Assets
Last week, the majority of asset types surged ahead, which resulted in a delightful movement up for the overall asset class, but it was a tough week for paintings – they were in the red by 1.1%.
- The Raptor skeleton we mentioned last time doubled its top-end estimate, achieving about $12.5m.
- Sotheby’s held a photography auction that was jam-packed with iconic names and images but somehow only managed a bumpy sale that really fizzled out.
- Sugar Shack by Ernie Barnes made it into the newspapers, achieving a jaw-dropping seventy-five times its top estimate. This is evidence of the market readjusting the valuation of artists from underrepresented demographics in front of our eyes.
- At Goldin, Batman’s first appearance in a comic was a notable sale.
- Star Wars (which pops up a lot today!) signed posters also performed well at Goldin.
- And Logan Paul’s box break saw him auction 36 individual packs in separate lots of the Pokémon 1st edition base set. Each pack sold for between $9,420 (we get it, you like weed) and $14,400.
This Week in Cultural Assets
Two fractionals this week, both from Rally:
- Market Cap: $170,000
- Inferred Value: $150,000
- Drop Details: 05/27/22 on Rally
- Our View: [INSIDERS ONLY]
Continuing with the theme of childhood nostalgia, if you’re ever stuck for a special present for a loved one, consider a rare copy of their favorite childhood book. Rarebookhub has a great calendar for upcoming auctions, but I wouldn’t recommend waiting for the stars to align for an opportunity to acquire your target book at auction.
The easiest way is to find it from a rare book dealer, certainly in London, where I’m based, but it’s true for all big cities. There are several famous shops/dealers which will almost always have what you want. Once you know which book you’re searching for, your budget will dictate its condition, plus whether it’s signed or of a first run/first edition.
You can also search for rare pieces on Abebooks, applying filters to get an idea of the price gap between signed/unsigned, first edition, and condition. I often buy from dealers I’ve found on websites like Abebooks and Biblio.
Once I’ve worked out what I can afford, if the seller has a website and a shop I will usually contact them directly, and not through Abebooks. This is an excellent way of chatting to someone who’s passionate about the book and has a great deal of knowledge about it and its market. It also means you can negotiate a lower price but beware; doing so means you have no insurance from Abebooks.
If the seller doesn’t have a shop I’d advise purchasing through Abebooks but ask for lots of photos for backup and explain the condition report (I’d also still ask for their phone number and chat to them about the provenance, condition, and what their dealing history is. They, too, are almost always enthusiastic experts and are happy to chat you through it).
- The perfect segue to take us from secondary market rare childhood books to this week’s auctions is Quentin Blake Draws Hope for Ukraine. These are nostalgic pieces – another great gift for the right person but something that would also look great in a kid’s bedroom (an often-overlooked room for hanging good art!).
- If it’s a teenager’s bedroom you need a gift for, you could try and acquire this handwritten and signed card from Che Guevara. It says it’s in good condition, but it appears in the pictures like it’s been stamped on by a muddy-booted fascist.
- There’s no doubt that Marilyn is so hot right now. The new film, Kim’s dress at the ball, the Warhol record sale, and Julian’s auction for her 96th birthday celebration. A very affordable, varied collection of photographs (and the odd magazine). A nice gift for the right person, if not that collectible.
- If you like the idea of investing in Star Wars toys, but want to hold and own your asset outright, then check out Hake’s auction where you can find a piece at every price point.
- I love the 4000-year-old ancient Egyptian Wooden Figure and all the Roman glass wear in Lyon and Turnball, Form Through Time. What doesn’t come across in the picture is how tactile these kinds of pieces are: they demand all your sensory attention when you hold them. Many of the lots in this auction are from asset categories I’ve always thought are undervalued (like ancient ceramic and glass, cosmic and natural history pieces).
- Goldin just dropped their next auction lots. As you know, the non-sports memorabilia is a favorite filter at Alts HQ. A Travolta-signed replica T birds jacket is cool, but trust me, you won’t look cool in it. We really like the Amelia Earhart signed photo and, from one pilot to another, the ER pilot script signed by the cast (including Anthony “Goose” Edwards and Clooney).
Last but not least, our podcast
In this episode, Horacio spoke with Walter Ramirez, the Contemporary and Urban Art Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions. He’s seen Urban Art auctions increase exponentially in the last few years, and in this podcast, he shares his view on the rising popularity of Urban Art, the future of contemporary art, and more:
That’s all for today’s Cultural Assets Insider. I hope you found it useful.
Until next time,