Christie's makes £133m in private sales within six months

The economic downturn is leading many art collectors towards discreet, private selling, according to Sotheby's London.

The auction house has revealed that its private sales between April and June were up 46% compared to a year ago.

Over the past three years, the house sold an incredible $1.5bn worth of art behind closed doors.

Private sales allow sellers to ask for higher prices without the risk of failing publicly and avoid the speculation that they are strapped for cash, according to the website ArtInfo.

Last year's unsold rates demonstrated a reluctance to sell at public auction.

Meanwhile, Sotheby's says its sells about 90% of what is offered privately.

Christie's has also seen a spike in private sales coinciding with a dip in interest at auctions - and announced £133 million of private sales for the first six months of the year.

It says that during June and July, its private sales grew by "more than 40 per cent" above the same period last year, according to the Telegraph.

Noteworthy upcoming private sales include Henry Moore's 15ft undulating bronze, Three Piece Reclining Figure: Draped, which last sold for £3.9m.

The sale will be held at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, UK, where Sotheby's regular holds its private sales.

For collectors, the news suggests that private selling is a prosperous and thriving alternative to public auctions.

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