Fun comparison

My theory is this: the price of old master portraiture is pegged to another commodity with comparable interest for billionaires. The last time Botticelli’s painting was sold at auction, in 1982, it went for £810,000, then the going price of the most coveted footballer. Today, a Premier League star with flowing locks and a roundel under his arm – Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, say – would still cost an interested oligarch the same as a Botticelli. Sotheby’s transfer window opens in January.

The correct observation to draw from this being look how governments have lowered the value of money over that time period.

6 thoughts on “Fun comparison”

  1. “The correct observation to draw from this being look how governments have lowered the value of money over that time period”

    Don’t think so, the more-than-inflationary rise in the value of footballers since 1982 surely has a lot to do with the rise in TV rights values, itself driven partly by changes in broadcasting technology and partly by globalisation. Yes inflation has happened in general, but not enough to add two zeros on the end.

    Presumably the valuations of old masters are being driven by a market with more very rich people than the 1980s (especially now China and Russia have become more integrated into the global economy), a scarcity of high-status great art for them to buy up, and a expectation such art is a safe investment?

  2. MBE,

    “Presumably the valuations of old masters are being driven by a market with more very rich people than the 1980s (especially now China and Russia have become more integrated into the global economy), a scarcity of high-status great art for them to buy up, and a expectation such art is a safe investment?”

    This is exactly what has driven the super high prices of top clarets and Burgundies. As the Japanese got richer in the 1980s, the prices went up and then when the Chinese arrived, they went up again. You end up with 2006 Domaine de La Romanee Conti selling for £22K/bottle. They only make 5000 bottles per year and everyone wants them, so what’s going to happen?

    This also led to prices of Burgundy generally going up too. The plain rich bought other Vosne-Romanees and Echezeaux wines, so they’re now around £500/bottle. The comfortably well off then have to slum it with the general Cotes de Nuits, so they’re about £100. Then even reasonable Burgundy gets pushed up to £30/bottle. Which is why I generally get my Pinot Noir from New Zealand and Chile.

  3. Recently retired and looking at motorbikes. One thing that I have noticed are nearly new bikes with just a few hundred miles on the clock that have already lost a considerable amount of their value. There are people who can afford to buy a new bike, hardly ride it and then trade it or sell it on at a massive loss. Just able to waste several thousand quid for the fun of it.

  4. “The correct observation to draw from this being look how governments have lowered the value of money over that time period.”

    Hence my point that Western governments have been printing money for decades and while it has created some inflation, it has not created a Weimar/Zimbabwe type scenario, whereby the price of the basic necessities have spiralled out of control, you need trillion pound notes to buy a loaf of bread, and the currency collapses entirely. Instead it has created £100m football transfer fees, and similar priced works of art, and fairly basic houses in London that cost millions. And thus the money printing that is going on now is also not necessarily going to end in the wheelbarrows full of notes manner either, and predictions that it must may prove wide of the mark. If history is anything to go by it will mean footballers costing £1tn and houses in London £100m but a loaf of bread still being as relatively cheap as it is today.

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