Damn The Markets, The Rich Get Richer

June 24, 2008

According to a new report by Merrill Lynch and the Capgemini Group, another 600,000 people became millionaires last year.  That brings the total number of millionaires to more than ten million. (Note that the definition of millionaire does not include value of primary residence).  The number of those with assets above $30million (the “super-rich”) has also grown, to 103,000.

Because of the economic slowdown, the wealthy tended to shift their money to safer investments such as bonds and money-market savings accounts, and away from less stable investments such as real estate, the report found.Cash deposits and fixed-income securities accounted for 44 percent of the assets of the world’s millionaires, up from 35 percent in 2006.

I have several thousand pennies in a jar someplace, along with some nickels and dimes.  That’s a start, I guess.

Damn The Markets, Art Still Sells!

June 24, 2008

This week sees a rash of auctions in Europe; and early indications are for a continuing strong interest from the big money.

Earlier today, “Le Basin aux Nympheas“, a Monet water lilies that hasn’t been seen in public since 1971, was sold for $80,451,178 (including premium).  This is the highest price ever obtained for a painting at auction by Christies in Europe.

Other items of interest:  a Degas went for $26.5million; a reclining woman by Henry Moore fetched $8.4m; and even Russian cubist Vera Rockline’s “The Card Players” (see right) was sold for $4m.  A couple of Miros failed to meet their minimums, though.

There is a second day at Christies tomorrow and on Monday, the auction house holds the sequel to its successful Post-War show, with yet another huge Lucian Freud piece (“Naked Portrait With Reflection”) at its heart.

The estimate is $30 million.  We’ll see