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Art market

Winners and losers of the market 1996-97

The art market strengthened and the salerooms saw their profits leap, however the pre-tax profits of dealers fell

It is difficult to report on the health of the art market so far as dealers are concerned because so much of their business is confidential. An annual report, published by ICC Publications, analyses their accounts which have by law to be lodged at Companies House. These only give the broadest indications of what has happened, the business being very capital intensive and profits frequently difficult to distinguish from capital investments. The art market strengthened, with average sales for dealers rising by 28% during 1996/97 and by 36% for auction houses. But while the salerooms saw their profits leap by 126%, the pre-tax profits of dealers actually fell by 9.3%. Employment among dealers remained static but rose in the auction houses by 13%. Dealers are also paying higher salaries to lure the best people away from the auction houses.

Top ten UK companies by sales 96-97

Sales Profit 96/97 95/96

£mil. % margin

Asprey London 96.8 80.07 3.5 10.5

R. Green Old Masters 30.62 30.87 5.9 4.7

Garrard and Co 30.60 23.7 -0.7 -5.1

S.J. Phillips 20.18 19.09 15.0 10.7

Anthony D’Offay 16.87 14.16 11.8 11.3

Robin Symes 14.54 6.09 5.1 -14.2

Partridge Fine Arts PLC 14.17 14.06 12.8 13.5

Alex Reid & Lefevre 13.78 5.34 2.1 1.1

Top ten UK companies by profit margin 96-97

Sales Pre-tax 96/97 95/96

£mil. %margin

Julian Barran Ltd 1.04 .245 34.1 -11.8

P M Art Ltd 0.9 .71 33.2 21.4

Daniel Katz Ltd 5.36 3.28 23.3 18.8

Anthony Mould Ltd 1.02 .84 22.4 -4.8

C John (Rare Rugs) Ltd 1.56 1.61 18.8 14.6

Robert Mills Ltd 1.19 .81 17.8 -6.1

Hollywood Fine Art Ltd 2.17 .62 15.7 25.0

S.J. Phillips Ltd 20.18 19.09 15.0 10.7

Top ten UK companies by sales 95-96

Sales Pre-tax

£mil. margin %

Asprey (Bond St) 80.1 10.5

R. Green Old Masters 30.8 4.0

Garrard & Co 23.7 -5.1

S.J. Phillips 19.1 10.7

Morton Morris & Co 17.1 1.5

Anthony D’Offay 14.2 11.3

Partridge Fine Arts 14.1 13.5

Eskenazi 13.3 11.9

Top ten UK companies by profit margin 95-96

Sales Profit

£mil. Margin %

Hollywood Fine Art 0.6 25.0

Sifton Praed & Co 1.2 23.1

P M Art 0.7 21.4

Crawley & Asquith 1.1 19.0

Drummonds of Bramley 1.3 17.4

Clifford Wright Antiques 1.3 17.3

Antique Fireplace Warehouse 2.6 15.3

Bygone Times 2.4 15.2

C John (Rare Rugs) 1.6 14.6

William Walter Antiques 0.9 13.7

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Winners and Losers'