Rarity + history = valuable collectibles... And intrige also lends a helping hand


However great or small your interest in art, you have to agree this is a striking image...


Lucian Freud Boys Head contemporary art
Lucian Freud's Boys Head: a startling piece of art, with an intriguing story

Straightaway, I see this image and want to know the story behind it. I mean, it certainly isn't your everyday painting of a young boy is it?

But then it wasn't painted by 'your everyday artist' either.

When Lucian Freud produced this work in the early-1950s, he had become recognised as one of the leading artistic talents of his generation. Yet his life was in disarray.

So worried were Freud's friends - they feared he may commit suicide - they entrusted young Charlie Lumley with the task of 'babysitting' the artist when they weren't around.

The rest is history and, as described in Christie's lot notes: "The young sitter, Charlie Lumley, is subjected to the unyielding dissection of Freud's gaze in this masterful zenith of his painterly analysis, which has become the stuff of legend."

This painting too has become the stuff of legend. It isn't for nothing that it will appear at Christie's on October 13 with a whopping £3-4m ($6.3m) estimate.

This unforgettable work reminds me of the power of "intrigue" when it comes to collectibles. With some pieces, you just know that the whole world is going to be interested.

Like the top story in our newsletter, this week: about a cache of love letters from the Rebel without a Cause himself, James Dean.

It's incredible to think that he died so long ago, in 1955. Yet Dean still captivates the world. Young people still have his posters on their wall.

And people still want to unlock the mysteries behind the legend.

Again, I'm referring to intrigue.

When Christie's got its hands on a series of letters which Dean himself described as "the nicest, sweetest letters in the world," it surely knew...

James Dean signed photograph
What's the story? As intrigue continues to discover 'the man behind the legend', the value of James Dean's autograph has gone up by 4.17% in the last year alone

It was only a matter of time before the world's news websites and potential buyers were falling over themselves to find out about it. Indeed, this demand has driven the value of Dean's autographs up by 4.17% over the past year alone (according to the PFC40 Autographs Index).

Take the above example, for instance. I've only handled about a dozen or so of these throughout my 35-plus-years career. Take it from me, they're incredibly rare.

Christie's has wisely chosen an estimated value of its love letters for sale £16,000 ($25,400) for the letters. Could they sell for more? I wouldn't be surprised.

The auctioneer's £16,000 ($25,400) prediction is high enough to assert the letters' historical importance - while keeping the value low enough to entice wealthy bidders from all over the world.

Needless to say, this auction will be one to watch.

And - as I discovered myself earlier this year when I participated in the $5.6m sale of Marilyn Monroe's legendary Seven Year Itch Dress - when those letters are unleashed on a worldwide audience of bidders, the intrigue will drive the letters' value sky-high.

For more information on how you can benefit from unique pieces of history like this, please contact our experts anytime at:

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All the best, until next week






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