Investing in The American Pop Print Market in 2023: 5 Years In Review

Campbell's Soup I (Complete Set) by Andy Warhol - MyArtBrokerImage © Sotheby’s / Warhol’s Campbell's Soup I (Complete Set) © Andy Warhol 1968
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Rebecca Marsham, Sales Director[email protected]

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Over the last five years, the American Pop print market has shown substantial growth. Here are the latest findings from our print market value index on Andy Warhol, Keith Haring & Roy Lichtenstein.

Original print series by Andy Warhol have continued to soar in value, becoming an increasingly attractive alternative asset. Read below for our Pop Art Market overview.

Download our complete 2023 American Pop Print Market Report here, to explore expert opinions on the American Pop Art prints and multiples market over the last five years.

Data-Led Art Investment

Our value index blends public auction data and private sales data from our collectors network. Our market value index uses artwork & artist data and a Repeat-Sales Regression (RSR) approach. Using the sale price of individual prints to estimate the fluctuations in the value of an average representative print over a unique period of time.

Our algorithm tracks over 48,500 auction histories & our own private sales data across 3,500 artworks spanning 30 years, including signed, unsigned, APs, PPs, TPs and sets of prints & editions.

We use several metrics when comparing artists:

  1. Market Size: the total value in sales in £GBP over a given period.
  2. Transaction Volume: the total number of sales over a given period
  3. Average Sales Price (ASP): the average price of a sale over a given period.
  4. CAGR: the Compounded Annual Growth Rate - a measurement used to smoothen the annual rate of growth over a given period.
  5. YoY: year over year - a direct comparison between the latest year and previous year.

Andy Warhol: Print Market Review

35 years after his death Andy Warhol continues to break records. In 2020, when other artists’ markets such as Banksy were exploding, Warhol’s more mature market dipped. But it was to prove only temporary. Always ahead of his time, series such as Endangered Species, Ladies and Gentlemen and Ads were arguably, until recently, under-valued. As works such as these start to receive overdue recognition, the growth in ASP across Warhol’s portfolio has risen exponentially over the last 24 months.

Andy Warhol’s Total Market Size 2017-2022 – MyArtBrokerAndy Warhol’s Total Market Size in £GBP

Are Andy Warhol Prints a Good Investment?

Both paintings and prints by Andy Warhol have boomed this year. In the wake of the record-breaking sale of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn in May, Marilyn prints have been increasing in value accordingly.

Warhol’s print market size (£GBP) has a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% over the last 5 years. In 2022, there has been only a 13% increase vs 2017 in the volume of transactions - a CAGR of 2.5% - meaning the majority of growth has come through the average appreciation in value of the works themselves. This is reflected in 2022’s ASP being 194% higher than 2017 - a CAGR of 24%.

Warhol’s Complete Sets Total Sales Value 2017-2022 - MyArtBrokerWarhol’s Complete Sets Total Sales Value in £GBP

Warhol Print Sets as Alternative Assets

The sales value of Warhol’s complete sets grew 175% between 2020 and 2021. It then grew a further 135% between 2022 and 2021 - driven in part by the ‘Yours Truly’ sale at Sotheby’s New York during October 2022. Complete sets accounted for 43% of total sales value in 2021, rising to 50% of sales value in 2022; approximately six times that of 2017. Complete sets are now considered trophies of Warhol’s print portfolios and we have seen increasing demand for sets with matching edition numbers.

Whilst the sales value has increased sixfold, the quantity of works sold has only a little over doubled. The market value for this segment being majority driven by in increases in the ASP:

Warhol Complete Sets £ASP 2017-2022 - MyArtBrokerWarhol Complete Sets £ASP

The ASP CAGR of 26% for complete sets outperforms the average for individual prints at 15%.

For complete sets where there is data available for a 5-year comparison, the skew of distribution for % returns over that period was 0.12. This indicates a relatively balanced spread of performance across the sets portfolio towards the positive side of the average. Naturally, some sets have performed better than others, but of the 24 sets available to compare the lowest return over 5 years was still 20%. Such is the phenomenal growth, 63% of Warhol complete sets have had a greater than 100% return over 5 years.

Warhol Rate of Return Trend: % Achieved by Individual Prints 2017 vs 2022 - MyArtBrokerWarhol Rate of Return Trend: % Achieved by Individual Prints 2017 vs 2022

Andy Warhol Individual Prints as Alternative Assets

Incredible performance in the Warhol market is not limited to complete sets. Individual prints have also seen excellent financial returns in the majority of cases, though in this case with a more skewed distribution (1.39) towards the top end.

On average, individual prints across Warhol’s portfolio overwhelmingly show a positive return. This is evidenced by this segment achieving a sales value CAGR of 17% with sales volume CAGR over 5 years standing at just 1.4%. In this segment it is again appreciation in print values driving the size of the total market with an ASP CAGR of 15%.

Examining the distribution of returns over 5 years: 58% of Warhol prints achieved a return of between 50% - 200%.

Of the artists we analyse in this report it is worth noting that significant growth in 2022 has been most evident across Warhol and Hockney. Given economic instability and war, a hypothesis could be that artists of this stature, with long sales histories and legendary reputations represent a safe haven for collectors and investors. As other artists’ markets cool, Warhol continues to heat up.

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Current Performance

Since the beginning of 2023, Warhol's prints & editions have been performing admirably, with many works exceeding their high estimates by a wide margin and breaking sale records. Here are some recent highlights from the Warhol market:

Phillips New York Editions & Works on Paper, 15 February 2023:

  1. Cow (1976) more than doubled its high estimate of $18,000 (£14,995), fetching a great realised price of $37,800 (£31,489).
  2. Kyoto (1956), astonishingly, realised an unprecedented $36,540 (£30,439). The work far exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $3,000 - $5,000 (£2,499 - £4,165), and perhaps indicates that collectors are becoming increasingly interested in Warhol's early illustrative works.

Phillips London Evening & Day Editions, 18 & 19 January 2023:

  1. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (from the Reigning Queens series) (Royal Edition) (1985) realised £289,800, sitting within its sizeable pre-sale estimate of £200,000-£300,000.
  2. Mao (1972) more than doubled its high pre-sale estimate of £30,000 and realised an impressive £95,760.
  3. Jacqueline Kennedy II (1966) more than quadrupled its high estimate of £12,000 and realised a record-breaking £52,920.
  4. Flowers (1970) more than tripled its high pre-sale estimate £50,000 and achieved an impressive realised price of £163,800.

LAMA Prints & Multiples 10 January 2023:

  1. John Wayne (from the Cowboys and Indians series) (1986) soared high above its pre-sale estimate of $120,000 - $150,000 (£98,990 - £123,738) and realised a great $201,600 (£166,304).

Keith Haring: Print Market Review

After a turbulent three years, Keith Haring's secondary print market finds itself back to the levels of 2018. Though the market has contracted in 2022, this is directly linked to the volume of sales - the ASP has in fact increased again in 2022 coming off the back of a 55% increase in 2021.

Haring’s images are globally ubiquitous. His enduring appeal and socially conscious work is reflected in the consistent financial returns against his print series.

Keith Haring’s Total Market Size 2017-2022 – MyArtBrokerKeith Haring’s Total Market Size in £GBP

Haring Individual Prints as Alternative Assets

Despite some fluctuations, the volume of transactions rarely goes beyond a 20% difference YoY. Arguably, the scarcity of available works both serves to keep the market compact and drives steady value appreciation. This is reflected in the parallel 5 years CAGRs for Market Size and ASP running at 20%.

Whilst the average 5-year returns for Harings’ works are positively skewed at 1.81, 55% of the distribution clusters around returns of 100% - 200%. The compact nature of the Haring print market has driven value, and impressive returns make this a market to watch in 2023.

Current Performance

Since the beginning of 2023, Haring's print market has continued to perform well with most results sitting comfortably within their pre-sale estimates, or exceeding them. Here are some recent highlights from the Haring market:

Phillips New York Editions & Works on Paper, 15 February 2023:

  1. Untitled 1982 1-6: one plate (1982) achieved well above its high pre-sale estimate of $15,000 (£12,496) and realised an impressive $35,280 (£29,390).
  2. The Bayer Suite (1982) also performed exceptionally well. Despite a pre-sale estimate of $8,000 - $12,000 (£6,664 - £9,996), the complete set of six prints realised $20,160 (£16,793).

Nagel Moderne & Zeitgenössische Kunst, 8 Febraury 2023:

  1. Apocalypse 1-10 (1988) smashed its pre-sale estimate of €50,000 - €80,000 (£44,395 - £71,032) and achieved a hammer price of €100,000 (£88,790).

Phillips London Evening & Day Editions, 18 & 19 January 2023:

  1. The Story Of Red And Blue 17 (1989) realised an extremely impressive price of £9,450, despite its low pre-sale estimate of £1,000 - £1,500.
  2. International Youth Year (1985) also exceeded its pre-sale estimate of £4,000 - £6,000 and realised £13,860 - more than doubling the high estimate.

Browse Keith Haring prints.

Roy Lichtenstein: Print Market Review

In many ways, Roy Lichtenstein represents the classic long term investment. Less famous than his contemporary Warhol, Lichtenstein remains prone to fluctuations but shows very steady CAGR across both market size (6.4%) and ASP (5.7%). Largely unaffected in terms of ASP during 2020; a significant bump in both ASP and market size in 2021 has since fallen in 2022, but in more modest terms - with ASP dropping by 5% YoY.

Roy Lichtenstein ASP £GBP 2017-2022 - MyArtBrokerRoy Lichtenstein ASP £GBP

Roy Lichtenstein Prints as Alternative Assets

At print level, Lichtenstein has a highly positively skewed distribution, with strong growth over the past 24 months. The consistent 6% 5-year ASP CAGR is reflected in the distribution of average returns. Though highly skewed, 54% of 2017 vs 2022 returns sit between a rate of 0% to 100%.

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Download our 2023 Market Report to discover more expert opinions on the prints and multiples market over the last five years. In this report, you can expect to find in-depth analyses of each artist’s print market, a list of the best-performing artworks on the market, and more print data that we have sourced just for you.

As the only dedicated prints & editions platform, we are committed to helping our clients make educated decisions about buying something they love and selling when the time is right; our combination of private sales, our vast network of collectors, and our precision data, offer autonomy and guidance in these matters unlike any other.

Find out more about American Pop prints as alternative investment assets in our Ultimate Print Market Report.

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