As we look to 2017 I have gained so much gained perspective, and an appreciation from this year of attending an auction. Whether for art, handbags, jewllery, Bric and Brac or furniture. Auctions are the go to place for the most beautiful, rare and exquisite pieces you will find. As opposed to the high street and modern luxury what you can find in an auction is so special and unique. It will astound you what can be found and the prices are really good and competitive. Whether it is for a sofa, a handbag, lamp, a vintage watch an auction is the place to find rarity.
This year I went to several art auctions, after going to only a few in the last couple of years. I am really now engaged into widening my knowledge in the history of art, painters, luxury brands and just trying to educate myself within this field.
After reading about autocratic leaders such as Mark Birley who opened the first Hermes shop in London, he also loved to attend auctions. He practically kitted out Annabels nightclub through collecting Bric a Brac and attending auctions. Birleys house contents was sold in 2013 including a lot including paintings by Augustus John and William Orpen, drawings by Rossetti and David Hockney, a Mac cartoon about Annabel’s originally published in the Daily Mail, and a Cartier tie pin.
Grace Kelly collected Hermes Kelly bags. These bags today vintage go for over 20 times there original selling price. Especially if you have an exotic skin or leather. These bags are highly prestigious and exclusive, and very hard to come by. They are made with the utmost care and precision, by only one craftsman that takes about 18 to 24 hours of work to put it together flawlessly. It is a notable and elite piece of merchandise from one of the most well-known brands in the fashion world. As all timeless pieces of art, there is a story behind its name.
The then Princess of Monaco had two favorite Hermes Kelly bags, both made with crocodile skin and in the stunning colors of dark brown and navy blue. Her love of these bags helped to make the crocodile skin design extremely popular in Hollywood, even more so than it had already been. Thousands of women dreamed of obtaining a crocodile skin Kelly bag of their own.
The love of an art auction also brings me back to the study of a module last year called historical and cultural perspectives in Luxury. We studied the Historal & perspectives behind the concept of Luxury. This involved visiting the V & A museum and touring the archives of artefacts from palaces in the U.K, Germany and France. We studied What is the underlying meaning behind ‘Luxury’ today. We studied perfumery, jewellery and French luxury. The module really gave an in depth knowledge and insight into how the old artefacts of yesterday and things of precious heritage are of extreme value and the fact that they are old only increases the value and makes it of more worth. When you go to a auction you could be buying something that could potentially value in future to be 10 – 100 times more than its original value or purchase price such as a painting, jewellery or furniture.
Vintage Cartier from 1930’s value today is 30 times more valuable than the modern Cartier sold today. Bonhams recently revealed that there is around £60 million-worth of vintage jewellery lying around in British people’s homes without them knowing it, according to auction house Bonhams.
It could have been handed down from previous generations, one of your signature party pieces or even in your child’s dressing up box, Bonhams says.
People are now investing in more tangiable commodities such as diamonds, gemstones and collectable pieces. With an unsteady market and jewellery prices rising, investors are moving away from stocks and shares into a more reliable and steady market.
An example of this can be seen in the the example of a dusty ruby brooch, which was bought in a Cambridgeshire charity shop for £1.50 and sold for £2,400 at auction after ‘scratches’ on its back were identified as a Cartier signature. That is a 1,600 times worth more than its purchase price.
Another client from East Anglia brought in a bright green bangle for valuation. It was identified as jade and was worth an estimated £20,000-£30,000. Bonhams went on to sell it in Hong Kong for a massive £443,500.
I have learnt since visiting Masterpeice, Christies and Sotheby’s this year some valuable information. Art is measurable and you can buy art at very small prices, you can buy small. David Bowie collected over 400 pieces of art during his lifetime and kept in storage.Big jewellery houses such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany’s are extremely well sought after Brands. The Jewellery made by these brands in the first half of the 20th century are highly sought after.
What could be someone’s rubbish is another persons goldmine; Just because a piece may not be to your taste does not mean it is not valuable. We go through fads and fashions, but at an auction something that was out of fashion a few years ago might now be on the up. For example, jewellery made in the 1970s and 1980s is now collected widely.
An auction is a great place to source vintage timepieces, jellewey boxes, furniture or a Picasso painting. The price could be very low or very high but at least you know it is a one of a kind piece and no one will have it. It could also potentially be a very valuable ROI. Your legacy also lives on through the quality things you collect, buy and attain. It becomes a part of your DNA and history. It does not necessary have to be current luxury brands or trends that you buy today that attain value, unless of course it is a Hermes Birkin or Kelly.
It is also a great and fun experience when you collect your first paddle. If you go anywhere next year make sure you visit an auction house. You won’t regret it. Watch out for competing bidders and those buyers premiums. Happy Bidding.
La Fin X