Christie's world record auction boosts first-half sales by 9%

Christie's has posted excellent first-half sales, with the total sum rising by 9% on last year's figure, boosted by the record-breaking post-war and contemporary art auction in May.

Christie's world record breaking auction
Jackson Pollock's Number 19 led the record May auction, which saw the highest total in history

The auction house has sold a total of $3.6bn so far in 2013, with particular strength in the post-war and contemporary category, which made $1bn - a 16% increase on last year's equivalent.

This was largely due to high-profile sales, such as Jackson Pollock's Number 19 and Jean-Michel Basquiat's Dustheads, which set new world records for the artists at auction.

The $3.6bn figure represents the highest total for the period in both company and art market history for the third successive year, demonstrating the growth of the industry.

"The art market is expanding at all levels. The first half of this year saw Christie's hold the most successful art auction in history with the $495 million sale of Post War and Contemporary Art, while also seeing that 45% of all buyers at our E-commerce auctions were entirely new clients," commented Steven P Murphy, CEO at Christie's.

The auction house in now looking ahead to a strong second-half in 2013, and has announced an auction in Mumbai in December, becoming the only international auction house to host sales in India.

Christie's also expects further success from its online-only auctions, and is also currently accepting bids in its sales of the wardrobe of fashion journalist Suzy Menkes and Dehua porcelain from the Galster-Ireland Collection.

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