2012 saw mixed results for many categories in the art market, yet the old masters sector is booming, according to the Mei Moses Fine Art Index.
The sector has shown a 6.5% increase from year-end 2011 until December 2012, spurred by big sales at the top auction houses. A further boost to these figures is expected later this month, as New York welcomes Old Masters Week.
See the top consignments to Old Masters Week in our Art & Photography news section, with outstanding offerings from all the top auction houses.
The success seen in 2012 was triggered by works that had not been seen at auction for decades, including Raphael's Head of an Apostle, which became the world's most valuable old master drawing after selling for £29.7m ($47.8m) in December.
John Constable's The Lock became the fourth most valuable old master work ever sold at auction, in July 2012, bringing £22.4m ($35.2m) and a 3.4% pa increase in value at Christie's.
But with collectibles cited as among the most popular forms of alternative investment, how long will supply be able to meet demand? Similar problems are already being seen by hungry Picasso collectors, with London-based art adviser Wendy Goldsmith telling Bloomberg News:
"Supply is the problem, there weren't as many good examples from the right periods coming up for auction last year. The market still loves Picasso. People just don't want to let them go."
Those looking to join the market for old masters should get on board while they still can. Paul Fraser Collectibles' contacts in the art world make us ideally positioned to source some fantastic works. Give us a call on +44 (0)117 933 9500 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.