The auction world is fluid and ever-changing, with new sales offering one-of-a-kind objects that can alter the global art market in a single moment. With more than 5,000 auction houses on its marketplace, Invaluable’s sales data — taken straight from auction rooms — offers vivid insight into what categories are the top sellers in fine art, collectibles, jewelry, antiques and more. We present it to you here in this easy-to-access Auction Market Trends Report for 2019.

% Increase in Hammer Price This Year — Top Categories

1

Ephemera, Cards & Documents
Great entry level category.

2

Women’s Watches
The classics endure, year after year.

3

Historical, Political & Space
50th anniversity of the Apollo missions.

4

Dolls
Bisque dolls outperform all others — including Barbie.

5

Sculpture
Conveys visual strength and power.

Inside the Growth

Ephemera, Cards & Documents

This category outperformed all the others, with hammer prices up dramatically ⁠— continuing a two-year upswing. Collectors surged to general advertising lots, signed historic letters and an enduring favorite, postcards. But interest was strong across the board.

Over the Years

Total Hammer in First Half of Year

2019 - $1,089,484
2018 - $685,654
2017 - $631,994
2016 - $775,670
2015 - $825,979

This Year’s Big Sales

E & J Burke Guinness advertising showcard

Unsual framed E & J Burke Guinness Chicago and New York baseball adverising showcard
Sold: €25,600

Victor Mee Auctions Ltd
May 9, 2019
Belturbet, Ireland

Malcolm X Signed Letter

Malcolm X Deeply Revealing Signed Typed Letter to Elijah Muhammad
Sold: $13,000

University Archives
June 26, 2019
Westport, CT, US

Porcelain NASH Authorized Service Station Sign

Porcelain NASH Authorized Service Station Sign
Sold: $8,000

Millers Auction Co.
February 9, 2019
Hixton, WI, US

Lots Available Now

Women’s Watches

Interest in women’s watches never really wanes and this year is no exception ⁠— with it remaining right at the top of best performing categories. As with men’s watches, the strongest sales continue to be dominated by Rolex, followed by Cartier and Chopard.

This Year’s Big Sales

Rolex Submariner 6204

Rolex Submariner 6204
Sold: $50,960

Antiquorum Genève SA
April 3, 2019
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Rolex Submariner James Bond 6538

Rolex Submariner James Bond 6538
Sold: $31,213

Antiquorum Genève SA
April 3, 2019
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Rolex Day-Date Diamond Wristwatch, ca. 1989

Rolex Day-Date Diamond Wristwatch, ca. 1989
Sold: CHF20000

Koller Auctions
June 26, 2019
Zurich, Switzerland

Lots Available Now

Necklaces & Pendants

Hammer prices in this timeless category soared more than 40% so far to start the year. Driving the strong performance were solitaires — especially diamond and emerald.

This Year’s Big Sales

Marquise Diamond Necklace 18K White Gold

39.68 ctw Marquise Diamond Necklace 18K White Gold
Sold: $60,500

Oxford Auction
March 23, 2019
Buena Park, CA, US

A Diamond and Gold Necklace

A Diamond and Gold Necklace
Sold: $15,000

Phillips
June 7, 2019
New York, NY, US

A Faberge Diamond, Gold and Hardstone Egg Pendant

A Faberge Diamond, Gold and Hardstone Egg Pendant
Sold: $12,000

Shapiro Auctions LLC
May 18, 2019
New York, NY, US

Lots Available Now

Apollo 11 Flown Beta Cloth Mission Insignia

Historical, Political & Space Memorabilia

This category took off in the first half of the year. One hint for the growth: the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, on July 20, 1969. Collectibles with “Apollo” in their titles saw total hammer price increase a staggering 177% year-over-year. The top lot sold was a cloth mission insignia from the family of Neil Armstrong.

Indian & South Asian Art

Durable growth in this category — fueled by strong interest in paintings and sculpture — lands Indian & South Asian Art on the top performers list.

This Year’s Big Sales

Metaphorical Suffocation

Jigger Cruz (b. 1984)
Metaphorical Suffocation
Sold: PHP900,000

Salcedo Auctions
June 1, 2019
Makati City, Philippines

Central Indian Torso of a Celestial Being

Central Indian Torso of a Celestial Being (C. 10th Century AD)
Sold: $20,800

Freeman’s
March 13, 2019
Philadelphia, PA, US

Anglo-Indian Silver-Clad Throne Chair

Anglo-Indian Silver-Clad Throne Chair, 19th C.
Sold: $15,000

Showplace Antique + Design Center
March 3, 2019
New York, NY, US

Lots Available Now

Dolls

With almost 30% growth, this category has been solid. Dollhouse miniatures sold well and Barbie was, as usual, a mainstay, while Bisque dolls were the most popular among collectors and commanded top prices.

This Year’s Big Sales

20" French Bru Jne Doll

20″ French Bru Jne Doll
Sold: $12,000

The Cobbs
May 2, 2019
Peterborough, NH, US

22" Bru Jne 10 Bébé Napoleon

22″ Bru Jne 10 Bébé Napoleon
Sold: $9,500

Apple Tree Auction Center
April 25, 2019
Newark, OH, US

18 " Rare Izannah Walker All Cloth Doll

18 ” Rare Izannah Walker All Cloth Doll
Sold: $8,500

Apple Tree Auction Center
April 24, 2019
Newark, OH, US

Lots Available Now

A Platinum and Diamond Bracelet

Bracelets

This category, one that spans generations, has seen 25% growth this year. While much of this growth is led by ageless diamond tennis bracelets, younger buyers continue to look for bangles and charms.

Men’s Watches

Always a top 10 category, this year has seen steady growth of more than 25%, pushed by extremely strong sales of Patek Phillipe, followed by good years for Rolex and Omega — all perennial favorites.

This Year’s Big Sales

Rolex Submariner

Rolex Submariner “James Bond” REF. 6538, CIRCA 1958
Sold: €118,000

Aste Bolaffi
April 8, 2019
Milano, Italy

Patek Philippe Chronograph

Patek Philippe Chronograph with Perpetual Calendar, 1998
Sold: CHF85,000

Koller Auctions
June 26, 2019
Zurich, Switzerland

Patek Philippe Complications Calendar Chrono

Patek Philippe Complications Calendar Chrono Auto Platinum Mens Watch 5960P-001 in Box W/Papers LIMITED PIECE
Sold: $65,000

GWS Auctions
February 2, 2019
AGOURA HILLS, CA, US

Lots Available Now

"La Reina del Nilo"

Porcelain & China

A solid performance — up nearly 25% — by this category, led by Meissen porcelain, which was by far the greatest seller, followed by Sèvres and KPM, which saw identical sales increases.

Sculpture

Strong growth, which began in 2018 has continued this year, driven by notable increases in busts, along with figural, religious, and abstract works.

Over the Years

Total Hammer in First Half of Year

2019 - $3,654,486
2018 - $3,149,454
2017 - $2,197,313
2016 - $2,349,255

This Year’s Big Sales

Matteo Pugliese (b. 1969)
The Sinner
Sold: £130,000

Sotheby’s
June 27, 2019
London, United Kingdom

Eugeni Alexandrovich Lanceray (1848–1886)
Bronze Sculpture
Sold: $85,000

DuMouchelles
April 14, 2019
Detroit, MI, US

Stephen Erzia (1876-1960)
“Le Désenchanté (The Disillusioned)
Sold: $71,500

Freeman’s
April 10, 2019
Philadelphia, PA, US

Lots Available Now

What’s it really worth?

Have a trending item you’re looking to appraise or consign? Get an apprasial in 48 hours or less and smoothly transition it to consignment.

What’s it really worth?

Have a trending item you’re looking to appraise or consign? Get an apprasial in 48 hours or less and smoothly transition it to consignment.