Great collections - Jose Mugrabi's Warhols

If you've followed the art market in recent years, or even have a passing interest, you'll know that Andy Warhol's work is some of the most valuable and sought after among collectors.

A Bellwether for the entire art market, Warhol's work influences values across the board

The auction world is currently alive with talk of two major sales coming in November, with both Sotheby's and Christie's offering his most iconic works. Both Silver Car Crash and Coca-Cola (3) are expected to see up to $60m.

Warhol is the world's top-selling artist, with his art totalling more than $380.3m in sales in 2012, bringing the all-time auction total to $2.9bn. A bellwether for the art market, around 200 of the pop artist's works appear at auction each year.

Most of the world's top contemporary art collections will undoubtedly house a Warhol, but there is one collection unlike any other.

Containing more than 800 of Warhol's finest works, it is at least triple the size of any other private collection in the world.

In fact, it even rivals the collection of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Andy Warhol Coca-Cola (3) Mugrabi Christie's
Will Coca-Cola (3) break the $71m record for Warhol's work at auction? With Mugrabi almost certainly bidding, it stands a chance

It belongs to Jose Mugrabi, an Israeli art collector, who made his millions after moving to Colombia at the age of 16 and becoming involved in the textile business. His collection truly began in 1982, after he moved to New York and met art dealer Jeffrey Deitch.

Since then, just like his business, Mugrabi has kept a close eye on his investments, and is said to be the first on the phone as soon as a Warhol is consigned to auction. He is even known to influence the final sale price, sometimes overpaying for works at auction so that next time he sells, the value of the work will be increased even further.

Jose's son Alberto, who is taking on his father's collection, admitted: "We're market makers. You can't have an impact buying one or two pictures per artist. We're not buying art like Ron Lauder — just to put it on a wall. We want inventory. It gives you staying power."

Not everyone agrees with these tactics, but you cannot argue that this is a man that knows how to protect his assets, and the price increases are favourable to everyone who already owns a Warhol - though not so pleasing to those that do not.

Mugrabi Last Supper Warhol
Mugrabi's first Warhol purchase was one of his variations on Da Vinci's The Last Supper

And Warhol is, quite frankly, an investor's dream. Just a few months after the artist died in 1987, Jose Mugrabi bought his first Warhol for $37,000. Almost exactly a year later, he sold it at auction for $103,350, making a 179% increase on his investment.

Yet the collection presents a potential hazard for those heavily invested in the art market. According to the Wall Street Journal, the collection is so huge that, should the Mugrabis decide to sell their horde, it would prove disastrous for the value of Warhol works, and could send shockwaves across the entire market.

Learn more about investing in collectibles with our free guide, or visit our online store for the latest addition to your collection.

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