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 ‘Adult toys’ auction market tells us about the rich and famous as consumers

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BARNEBYS AUCTION SEARCH ENGINE TRACKS WHAT WEALTHY BUYERS

“REALLY REALLY WANT”

There has been an explosion in the value of toys for grown ups -. classic cars, watches, jewellery. All this inessential stuff that those with huge wallets are collecting and investing in.

Barnebys – the leading global art and collectables search engine – has been monitoring this front for the past year. It represents billions of dollars of luxury item buying.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, sold at auction in August 2018 for a record US$48 million. Photo: RM Sotheby’s  

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, sold at auction in August 2018 for a record US$48 million. Photo: RM Sotheby’s

Barnebys is the worlds leading auction aggregator, monitoring a database second to none of what is selling around the world for record prices and tracking sales of art, antiques and collectables from 3,000 auctioneers client subscribers to their system in Europe, Asia and the USA

Pontus Silfverslope, one of the founders of Barnebys says: “Interest in the top end, the very very best of each collecting category has gone through the roof in the last 25 years. Much in evidence in many of our auction house clients around the world is bidding at the highest level for items that are really coveted by the billionaires. There is no sign that we can see of any lessening of the desire to acquire the ultimate in everything of value.”

“The main action now lies with wine, cars, diamonds and watches. Thanks to the increased global market, greater transparency in the auction sector and a favorable economic situation with good growth in major parts of the world interest in the auction market has increased. Many wealthy people see these new collectibles as a good investment and also a fun investment where the return is more than money in the bank.”

“I would say that you should not invest in art to speculate, but to consume. The same applies when buying a Ferrari from the 1960s or a Rolex Daytona watch. The cars are beautiful in the garage and wristwatch in the wardrobe, but the biggest benefit is being able to make use these things – to drive the car and to wear the watch.

“These collecting areas have skyrocketed in recent years and growth has been enormous. Many millionaires have discovered the  pleasure and excitement of the auction market thanks to these categories – cars, wine, watches and jewellery. And some people have become millionaires thanks to their forgotten treasures in the attic or the the basement.”

CLASSIC CARS

The number of classic cars sold at auction every year keeps on rising, so if you are looking for something classic, auction houses are a very good place to start your search. Top classic car auction houses include RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams, H&H Classics, Gooding & Co, Barrett Jackson, Artcurial, Aguttes, Russo and Steele.

The most famous automotive brands like Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin or Bugatti, to name just a few, have been attracting a broader audience each year and are the object of fierce auctions. With the internationalisation of auction houses sales are increasing and spreading all around the globe.

According to “The Wealth Report” published by Knight Frank, classic cars are, in the long-term, a better investment than art and show an impressive progression of 334 % over the past ten years.

A good example of the strength of this sector is the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold at auction just a month ago in August for a record US$48 million. Photo: RM Sotheby’s  

WATCHES:

Not since the Renaissance has the fascination with watches been as great as now says Barnebys, the worlds leading auction search engine which offers 65 million prices achieved at auctions worldwide.

This astonishing database is a goldmine for tracking down trend information and currently the watch market is going balistic according to Barnebys figures. Barnebys affiliated auction houses and traders offer approximately one million searchable items daily.

It’s the exclusive watch brands that are the hottest ticket on the auction market which continue to make records at auction. This classic status symbol worn on one’s wrist has become a popular collector’s item and is now one of the most collectable of categories which include wine, cars, art and antiques.

The most searched for watch brand is Rolex, followed by Omega and Patek Philippe. Unlike most other collecting areas, wrist watches attract a younger audience. Over 90% of the searches on Barnebys are made by men between 18-34. But more and more women are also looking for exclusive wristwatches. Today, the watch market is one of the hottest in the auction world.

Paul Newman Rolex Daytona, made in the late 1960s, sold at auction in 2017 for a record US$17.75 million. Photo: Phillips 

Paul Newman Rolex Daytona, made in the late 1960s, sold at auction in 2017 for a record US$17.75 million. Photo: Phillips

$17M ROLEX WATCH ONCE OWNED BY PAUL NEWMAN

Paul Newman’s legendary Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona sold for £13,545,848 ($17,752,500; €15,228,0950), a new world record for a wristwatch at auction. The timepiece sold to an anonymous bidder on the phone after 12 minutes of spirited bidding at Phillips in New York last year.

JEWELLERY: 

Jewellery has continued to perform well over the past decade. Jewellery is as subject to fashion as any other commodity says Barnebys and ewellery from the 1960s and 1970s is extremely desirable at the moment. There is also a real interest for signed art deco jewellery, viewed by collectors as small works of art. But it is the great white diamonds, the coloured diamonds, the coloured gemstones – sapphires, emeralds and rubies – and the very best pearls that are currently commanding the most excitement in auction rooms.

A round brilliant-cut diamond measuring 19.23 x 12.06mm and weighing 28.18 carats. Photo: Heritage Auctions 

A round brilliant-cut diamond measuring 19.23 x 12.06mm and weighing 28.18 carats. Photo: Heritage Auctions

$28M pink diamond ring and the  $6.7M blue sapphire  JEWEL OF KASHMIR

This fancy Vivid Pink diamond sold by Christie’s last year for $28.5m was described as the Rolls Royce of diamonds.

This fancy Vivid Pink diamond sold by Christie’s last year for $28.5m was described as the Rolls Royce of diamonds.

Jewellery is as subject to fashion as any other commodity says Barnebys, the one-stop shop auction search engine. Jewellery from the 1960s and 1970s is extremely desirable at the moment. There is also a real interest for signed art deco jewellery, viewed by collectors as small works of art. But it is the great white diamonds, the coloured diamonds, the coloured gemstones – sapphires, emeralds and rubies – and the very best pearls that are currently commanding the most excitement in auction rooms.

And this 27.68-carat Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring, The Jewel of Kashmir, sold for $6.7m at Sotheby’s.

And this 27.68-carat Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring, The Jewel of Kashmir, sold for $6.7m at Sotheby’s.

WINE& WHISKY: 

There has been something of an earthquake in the wine world with the major sales now taking place in Hong Kong where enormous air conditioned cellars keep premier crus cool for even cooler customers. And where the world record price for Whisky is now held by a Japanese brand. A bottle of Japanese whisky sold at Hong Kong’s Bonhams Whisky Sale for $343,000 (US), toppling both its estimated sale price and the previous world record for a single bottle of Japanese whisky.

The bottle in question was a 50-year-old Yamazaki, a rare single malt. Yamazaki is Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, and first opened in 1923. The Drinks Business notes that the bottle, first released in 2005, is one of only 50 made by the distillery; it was matured in mizunara (Japanese Oak) casks and is “thought to be the oldest Yamazaki on the market.”

When it comes to wine nothing has topped the Jeroboam of 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild  that sold for $310,700 in February 2007 at Sotheby’s.

Château Cheval Blanc 2010. Selling by Sothebye September 30 2018

Château Cheval Blanc 2010. Selling by Sothebye September 30 2018

CHATEAU CHEVAL BLANC 2010

 HANDBAGS – BAGS OF INVESTMENT VALUE 

The value of branded women’s handbags have gone through the roof and today are one of the most collectable alternate investment categories at auction say Barnebys.

“So next time your partners says that she wants a handbag and the price horrifies you, just think that it may in fact prove to be an investment,” says Pontus Silfverstolpe, co-founder of Barnebys.

The new world record is held by a matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond bag by Hermès Birkin designed by Jean Paul Gaultier. It sold at a Christie’s Hong Kong auction in June 2016 for £208,250. It was described by Christie’s as the “rarest, most sought-after, most valuable bag. Only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year.”

Current world record holder at £208,250 

Current world record holder at £208,250

Find out more at  Barnebys.co.uk

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 1

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.

Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.

“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.

Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.

While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.

“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”

Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.

“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.

“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.

“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.

Gorman’s books are both due out in September.

Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 2

By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD

Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.

As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.

As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?

Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world

No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.

In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.

Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.

The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.

Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.

The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.

As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.

But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.

A digital world post-COVID

Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.

There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.

Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.

Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.

“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.

The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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