What $106.5 Million Gets Some People


Recently, Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” was sold at Christie’s for a record $106.5 Million USD. Many saw this as a sign that the recession is over, at least for art collectors. I don’t think it is that at all. Rather, it is something more simple. Works from Picasso don’t come up for auction every day or even every year. So, when they do, people with the desire and, most importantly, the means line up for these auctions and bid, bid, bid.

“Hey, wait a minute.” You must be saying now. “The auction at Christie’s didn’t feature any movie posters. Why are you writing about this?” Don’t worry, there’s a point to this entry and that is, what is it that compels some people to spend $106.5 million USD on a work of art or anything that is a collectible? I’m the kind of person where $106.5 million USD is A LOT of money.  (More money than I and a good chunk of the world’s population will make in our lifetime.) Well, here is what I think:

It’s a Picasso. Admit it, the idea of owning an original Picasso has a certain cache. It shows that you are in a select group of people who have the means to own a Picasso.

In addition to owning it because one can, it could also be that the desire to collect items, no matter what they are, is a way to exert some control in life.  So, while the value in our mutual funds dropped and people like Bernard Madoff bilked hundreds of investors with his ponzi scheme, our art collection, bottle cap collection or movie poster collection is the same place it always was—namely the last place we left it.

Sources:
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=7423174

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703866704575224873880379734.html

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