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Arts and antiques market rebound continues to gain momentum
Jan 11, 2010

Prices in the arts and antiques market continue to rise with silver and jewelery leading the way, while contemporary art came back into favor following a year of price falls, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published January 8, 2010. The all-lot price balance continued to edge up in the final quarter of 2009, with 17 percent more surveyors reporting rising rather than falling prices, up from 14 percent in the previous quarter; this was the highest since the first three months of the year. Silver and jewelery remain the strongest sectors with 50 percent and 37 percent of surveyors reporting rising rather than falling prices in these categories respectively. These are traditionally seen as safe havens for investors, but their continuing strength can be attributed to the increased scrap value of precious metals towards the end of the year. Reversing four quarters of falling prices, the contemporary art market experienced a resurgence during the final three months of 2009. The balance of surveyors reporting rising rather than falling prices was 6 percent, the first positive reading since Q3 2008, and up from -34 the previous quarter. In the oil and watercolor subsector, 5 percent more surveyors reported rising rather than falling prices with the top end of the market fairing particularly well. For lots over GBP 50,000, the top bracket, 17 percent more surveyors recorded rising rather than falling prices. In contrast the balance was only 9 percent for contemporary arts, indicating that traditional pieces remain more popular for large investors. Looking ahead, the outlook for both supply and demand remains strongly positive, however confidence slipped back slightly from previous quarter. RICS spokesperson, Jeremy Lamond said, "Arts and antiques have remained pretty resilient throughout the recession and this latest survey once again demonstrates their strength as an investment class. It is interesting to see the contemporary market improve, although whether this is a temporary improvement following the Frieze art fair last October or a more solid turnaround remains to be seen. However it is clear that more traditional safe haven items are still the preferred lots. As gold prices remained strong at the tail end of the 2009, the market witnessed heightened activity in precious metals and the demand for quality pieces was particularly noticeable in the salesrooms."

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