Marketplace is community-funded public service journalism. Give in any amount that works for you – what matters is that you give today.
TEXT OF STORY
JANET BABIN: In New York this week, the spring art auctions get underway and man, oh man, people will be spending a lot of money. Marketplace’s Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.
One reason for the stratospheric prices: competition between art houses. As Sotheby’s and Christie’s jockey for pieces to auction, they often guarantee sellers a set amount.
Charlie Finch with ArtNet Worldwide says it also has to do with the secret world of hedge funds — those lucrative investments usually open only to millionaires.
CHARLIE FINCH: Hedge fund money means that hedge fund types can write themselves checks for any amount. Art is used in the kind of a way banks use demand deposits.
Finch says art frenzy could cool down in a few years but others say the lure of owning a one-of-a-kind piece has become a global religion that will only crest when the world economy does.
I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.