NEW YORK, NY.- Christies International
, the worlds leading art business, announced today worldwide sales of £1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for the first six months of 2009, down 35% by £ on last years figure of £1.8 billion ($3.5 billion) for the same period (Figures include buyers premium). In Christies salesrooms around the world, 211 works of art sold for more than $1 million, compared to 457 sold during the same period last year. Sales totals include private sales of £133.1 million/$199.7 million, down 13% by £ on the same period last year, and reflect those brokered by Christies in the first half of 2009 as well as sales conducted by Christies wholly-owned subsidiary, Haunch of Venison. Christies achieved global auction sales market share of 61% against its main competitor and saw average sold rates by lot rise 5% since the end of last year to 78.3%.
Christies continues to see liquidity and participation in the art market at every level and across a variety of categories and geographies. We are delighted to have further enhanced our leading global market share in the first half of 2009 and increased sold by lot percentages at all price levels. While overall sale volumes have declined across the market, a 5% rise in sold percentages since the beginning of the year, combined with sustained price levels, throughout the period demonstrate that art has continued to hold its value, said Edward Dolman, Chief Executive Officer, Christies International. Notable successes have included the outstanding Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Collection held in Paris and a very strong Spring series in Hong Kong, which reflected the continuing growth of the market in Asia. Overall, Christies results show that this is a very good time to sell works of art, with well priced pre-sale estimates, and we continue to see established and new clients eager to make acquisitions.
Our industry lead continues to be underpinned by our specialist art expertise, client service and creative marketing, and the unrivalled success of our online bidding service Christie's LIVE, which continues to develop at a significant rate with LIVE participants now representing 29% of total bidders in the first half of 2009. Christie's innovation at developing new strategies for promoting our activities for clients was further demonstrated by the launch this month of a new iPhone application.
In addition to offering the best platform for public auction sales, Christies continues to develop its art related businesses including private sales. By offering the best advice to clients about the different sales channels available to them and their prospects, our private sales business works to complement our public auction sales. We also continue to invest in our diversified operations such as Christies Great Estates and Christies Fine Art Storage Services facilities (CFASS), the only global high-value art storage business in the world. In the first half of 2010, a CFASS facility will open in New York and at the Singapore FreePort, a free trade zone environment.
We look forward to continued stability in the market in the second half of the year and to maintaining our proactive focus on cost control to ensure long term profitability, Mr Dolman concluded.