Mei Moses old master art index up 5.6% since January

Old master and 19th century works continue to proving their worth in 2012, according to new figures released this week.

Numbers from Mei Moses' respected art index reveal that the sector's value is up 5.6% since the beginning of the year.

Canaletto Venice drawing world record Sotheby's
Canaletto – helping old masters gain 5.6% in value this year

The figure indicates just a slight improvement since the half year report, when the index was up 5.4% since the start of the year, a reflection of the limited number of major art auctions during August.

Prior to the summer recess, auction results had been booming, with a previously unrecorded depiction of Venice from Giovanni Canaletto setting a new £1.9m ($3m) world record for a drawing by the artist at Sotheby's on July 4, while John Constable's The Lock set a new record for the artist of £22.4m ($35.2m) the previous evening at Christie's.

The old master and 19th century sector is bucking the trend of the art market as a whole, which is experiencing a slight correction during 2012 - down 3.5% in value since January.

The figures may attract a growing number of investment-minded buyers to old masters, a sector that is currently lagging behind modern and contemporary in terms of popularity.

A recent Artnews 200 report found that just 8% of the world's leading 200 art buyers currently collect old masters.

If you're looking for piece of the buoyant old masters and 19th century market, take a look at this superb handwritten letter from Renoir.

For more of the latest from the world's art auctions, and plenty of great investment advice, you can sign up to our free weekly newsletter.

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