MAB100 Art Index: Revolutionising Art Investments Against Conventional Assets

MAB100 Print Market index by MyArtBroker -2023MAB100 Print Market Index © MyArtBroker 2023
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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Financial indices like S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average represent blue chip companies, which align with our focus on blue chip prints. The distinct advantage of prints lies in their editioned nature, enabling precise comparisons. Our print market index, the MAB100, excels due to its bespoke technology incorporating public and private sales pricing, valuations, and artists' trends, providing an accurate art index comparable to stocks and traditional assets. Art indices, much like their financial counterparts, share common features in measurement, representation, data aggregation, baseline value, weighting, historical analysis, and benchmarking. Although no index captures every factor perfectly, these similarities allow investors and researchers to evaluate art investments on par with the stock market, offering a comparable assessment.


MAB100 vs Traditional Assets © MyArtBroker 2023

Financial Performances

Unlike stocks or traditional investments, art maintains a consistent value regardless of market fluctuations, a trait underscored during the 2020 COVID pandemic. The coronavirus crash impacted oil most dramatically, followed by the S&P500 and the DJ30, due to government-imposed lockdowns resulting in reduced economic activity and increased unemployment. Historically, wealth tends to leave the stock market during economic downturns and funnels into passion and luxury assets. This trend is illustrated with the resilience and growth of gold and art during the same COVID impacted year.

While gold experienced growth similar to the print market in mid-2020, the art market continued to flourish, reaching its peak in 2022. This year was marked by significant single-owner collections hitting auction blocks, such as the Macklowe Collection and The Paul G. Allen Collection, along with the iconic sale of Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn. These events bolstered the art market’s performance in both paintings and prints, showcasing its resilience even in the face of economic downturns. Our MAB100 print index indicates that amidst economic uncertainties, including a cautious environment in 2023, art investments stand as a reliable hedge against other investments, underscoring their enduring demand and stability.

It is essential to emphasise that the financial intricacies of art collecting are multifaceted and require consultation with external sources, including financial advisors and art brokers, for a comprehensive understanding. Artworks being tangible assets come with incurred expenses such as preservation, storage, and shipping, which should be considered. While comparing art indices to the stock market and other assets is inherently complex and cannot be a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, we acknowledge these complexities. This is why we meticulously curated the MAB100, selecting artists and mediums thoughtfully to mitigate these challenges.

Investing With The MAB100

The MAB100 print index offers financiers a reliable benchmark without requiring specialised knowledge of the art market or trending artists. We simplify this data, presenting the most sought-after artists for investment directly to the user. Art, typically a less liquid investment, now boasts a robust benchmark comparable to traditional assets and major stock indices. This efficacy arises from its focus on fundamental blue chip artists, ensuring stability in their markets throughout the year. Unlike conventional art indices that broadly showcase top performers across various genres, the MAB100 goes deeper by focusing specifically on American Pop , Post War and Contemporary artists with well-established markets and high-demand artworks. This targeted approach guarantees a precise comparison of market values. The technology assesses fluctuations in sales value for the same prints over a specific period, considering factors like appreciation and depreciation. It efficiently filters the highest performing prints, adjusting the index value accordingly. Unlike other indices, the MAB100 doesn't restrict your search to a single artist. It identifies the top 100 individual artworks, providing a price ranking rather than an artist ranking. This method aids your investment decisions by comparing sale prices of prints from different artists, ensuring you invest in the most valuable options and prioritising long-term value over selecting merely the priciest artworks from a single auction sale.

Why Art Indices Matter

Operating on a quarterly schedule, The MAB100 refreshes every three months year-round, with Q4, starting in November, holding particular significance due to the presentation of vital and high-value artworks in the New York fall marquee sales. While many buyers are making calculated decisions with their art market purchases this year considering the economic climate and that it will likely continue into 2024, art indices like the MAB100 serves as a pivotal tool for art professionals: dealers, analysts and collectors alike. Its invaluable contribution lies in the transparency it brings to art market transactions. By presenting estimates and rankings of artworks upfront, it ensures informed buying decisions, guaranteeing that buyers acquire the desired piece at the right price and invest in the most lucrative artworks.

The remarkable sophistication of the technology driving this index cannot be emphasised enough; it continuously updates to mirror the latest prices and auction records, providing an accurate reflection of the market's dynamic landscape.

MAB100 Top Five Works November 2023

Art indices, though complex, offer precise insights into the art market's dynamics. They evaluate artists' enduring popularity, capturing the ongoing demand for their works despite market fluctuations. The indices intricately balance the historical significance of artists, the surging markets they once enjoyed, and the enduring appeal of their creations. This complexity ensures accuracy, depicting a comprehensive picture of the art world by weighing immediate values against long-term impact, making them invaluable tools for both investors and art enthusiasts.


Sales End V2 - Signed

Sales End V2 was released within Banksy's groundbreaking Barely Legal exhibition in 2006, held in a Los Angeles warehouse. Beneath a bold “Sale Ends Today’’ sign, apostolic figures prostrated, a sharp commentary on modern consumerism. Initially, only 100 unsigned pieces were available, priced at $400 (USD) each, swiftly becoming exceedingly rare. Presently, this series is limited to 500 editions and its current market cap is +£179 million demonstrating their high desirability.


Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower) - Unsigned

Love Is In The Air, also known as Flower Thrower, stands as one of Banksy’s iconic masterpieces. Depicting a figure in a hoodie and backward baseball cap tossing a bouquet like a grenade, this mural's origin on the West Bank Wall carries Banksy’s anti-war message. It's timeless relevance is mirrored in its MAB100 placement, highlighting its high demand and market capitalisation. With an estimated value of £35,000 to £50,000 and a limited edition of 500, its impactful imagery and consistent market transactions secure its position within the MAB100.


Morons - Signed

Morons epitomises Banksy’s unabashed commentary on the exorbitant prices of artworks, including his own. Recreating Van Gogh's Sunflowers' historic sale at £22.5 million, this piece showcases Banksy's classic ironic style. Valued at £35,000 to £50,000, its scarcity (appearing once in 2023), low edition of 150, and third position in the MAB100 underscore its value and market capitalisation, hinting at increased worth upon reappearance.


I Fought The Law - Signed

I Fought The Law, a signed screen print with a limited edition of 150, reimagines the failed assassination attempt on Reagan. Despite sharing a similar estimated value with prints above, this work ranks lower in the MAB100 index due to considerations beyond edition size. Factors like the artwork's impact, rarity, and market frequency are carefully assessed, ensuring a nuanced evaluation. Smaller editions may rank lower if they lack comparable demand or historical significance. This meticulous approach guarantees accuracy in the artwork's position, showcasing its enduring desirability reflected in its high estimated value of £50,000, nearing its record price of £62,500.


Flag (Silver) - Unsigned

Banksy's Flag (Silver) is a monochrome unsigned screen print, part of a 1000-print edition. Its wide circulation, originating from the 2006 Santa’s Ghetto exhibition marks its its significance in the market and makes it highly desirable. The MAB100 algorithm acknowledges its importance by considering the high sales volume, value fluctuations, successful sales, and market capitalisation. These factors contribute to its notable fifth position in the MAB100, showcasing the technology's intelligence.