Abigail Asher and Barbara Guggenheim have established Guggenheim Asher as an industry titan. Its clients include many household names: Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Coca-Cola and Sony are among those it has arranged collections for. The firm advises on European and US art from the 20th century to the present day, with Asher describing the job of an adviser as a combination of detective and curator. ‘You need to be quite relentless, an advocate for your client, and have great perseverance and imagination. I love the chase and the acquisition,’ she says. In a market where demand outstrips supply, the duo’s insider knowledge and expansive network of contacts enable them to be the eyes and ears of eager collectors experienced and new. Guggenheim Asher determines its pricing based on the market to maximise investment potential. The firm will source and purchase art and manage sales. It also arranges loans to museums […]
Welcome to the Spear’s Indices
Each issue of Spear’s Magazine contains an exclusive Index prepared by the experts at the Spear’s Research Unit identifying the very best providers of professional services to the high net worth audience. Comprehensive, authoritative and indispensible, these are the definitive lists of the top HNW advisers in Britain working in property, family law, wealth management, tax and trust, alternative assets and reputation management. Once a year the Indices are updated and expanded to form the core of the Spear’s 500, the bible of HNW advisers. Go to the drop down menu below for the latest indices of top professionals from the Spear’s Research Unit
Alternative Assets Advisers 2018
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Private collectors, galleries and foundations make up the clients of Ariane Belisle, whose ascent has been nothing short of remarkable since she established AIB Art Advisory in 2015, specialising in postwar and contemporary art with a strong focus on emerging artists. Belisle set up AIB after gaining several years’ experience in the primary and secondary markets, where she has worked on curatorial projects at the likes of the V&A, Tate Britain and Haus der Kunst, providing a strong foundation for new talent discovery and forging connections with established names. After completing an MA in curating at the Courtauld, Belisle was scouted to manage a multimillion-pound private collection in 2011 while at Sotheby’s, and she hasn’t looked back since. AIB provides new and experienced collectors with the full suite of services from buying, selling and collection management to shipping, framing and organising collateral loans. ‘Visiting the artist in the studio and […]
Holder of a royal warrant for every monarch since King George III in 1761, Justerini & Brooks continues atop the merchant hierarchy, with more than £200 million-worth of wine held on behalf of clients worldwide. Honorary chairman Hew Blair has been at Justerini for more than 40 years and oversees the firm’s growth. Its Burgundy range continues to expand and it is well positioned to deal with the growing demand in Pétrus. Blair is particularly excited by the Barolo region: ‘We work with small, family run domaines,’ he says. ‘The style they are making is a lot more subtle, with less tannin and definitely more ethereal. The wines will still age beautifully.’ From arranging the first en primeur tastings in the capital with the 1990 Burgundy vintage to bringing the company into the internet age with huge success, Blair is a pioneer of the trade. The key, he says, has […]
‘2018 could realistically be our best year yet,’ says BI founder Gary Boom, who points to strong growth in spirits and its online platform LiveTrade. Bordeaux has always been the focal point of the business. ‘After the 2009 and 2010 en primeur campaigns, where quality was exceptional but prices were incredibly high, some of the gloss came off for collectors,’ he remarks of the Bordeaux market. ‘However, concerted efforts by châteaux both in quality and price terms have restored faith.’ The team at BI can get clients building a portfolio with £25,000, but it’s above the £100,000 mark that the real fun starts. ‘We believe investors should look to a minimum ten-plus-year horizon for their portfolios,’ says Boom.
The world’s foremost specialist in pre-war Aston Martins, Ecurie Bertelli boasts 40 years of experience in servicing, selling, restoration and even support. Astons have been a part of MD Robert Blakemore’s life since he was eight. ‘I love the individuality of each car,’ he says. ‘Each car is absolutely unique.’ Only around 450 pre-war Astons exist. ‘We do sometimes find it difficult to source vehicles, but because we have the reputation we do, when people want to sell, they tend to come to us,’ he says. Blakemore, who drives one of only seven 1935 drophead coupes, recently went to Le Mans with a customer’s model that had raced the circuit twice back when it was fresh from the factory.
Whether it’s tending to A-list cellars or exploring the Chinese mountains of Ningxia in search of interesting varieties, the ever enthusiastic and endlessly creative Douglas Blyde just doesn’t stop. ‘If I’ve been told by a client that they really dislike red Burgundy, I will go out of my way to find a Burgundy that they will actually fall in love with, or I will find a ranger, so a Pinot Noir from somewhere else in the world that has a beguiling quality about it,’ he says. ‘It’s putting in front of them strange products that a client might not necessarily have thought about.’ HNWs might be minded to gravitate towards the classics, but Blyde is always eager to ignite passions for New World flavours from the likes of Canada, South Africa and California. It’s no wonder the likes of Evgeny Lebvedev and the Weymouths have entrusted the Evening Standard columnist and […]
Depth and breadth is the stock-in-trade at Wilkinson Vintners, which deals mainly in Bordeaux but also covers Burgundy, the Rhône, champagne and vintage port. Director Paul Bowker joined 20 years ago from Christie’s. He had fallen into a career in wine by accident, through a job as a van driver for industry legend Steven Spurrier in Paris. ‘All I ever wanted to do was be a banker,’ he says. ‘Steven made me decide I wanted to be a wine merchant. He lit a fire.’ Last year the firm scooped around £1.5 million of wine from a single private seller. ‘When someone suddenly comes along with several hundred cases of really top-quality wine worth that amount of money, it makes life a lot easier,’ says Bowker.
Used to doing things its own way and anticipating the market with unparalleled acuity, Corney & Barrow was the first to develop close relationships between private customers and growers. ‘People laughed at us,’ says managing director Adam Brett-Smith. ‘But the model then, and to a degree now, was that agents sold to wholesalers, who sold to retailers, who sold to private customers. We trust our growers and our growers trust us. If you choose them carefully, the value remains constant.’ C&B represents the likes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Pomerol. The weaker pound has helped its expanding business in Asia, while a strong series of vintages have been moving in the firm’s favour. Interest is beginning to move away from blended varieties – a shift felt most prominently in the surging prices in Burgundy. ‘It is wine that is interpreted and translated by a specific vineyard with a specific […]
One of the art world’s titans, Amy Capellazzo launched Art Agency, Partners in 2013 with Allan Schwartzman. Both sit as chairmen of global fine arts at Sotheby’s, which bought the firm in 2016 for $85 million as a part of a move to focus more on client services. ‘There’s a general feeling that we add a lot of value to the business and have allowed for an advisory function to exist within a transactional company,’ she says. As a former chairman of postwar and contemporary at Christie’s, Capellazzo has directed several record-breaking initiatives and results, including a $650 million haul in one evening, as well as the development of the contemporary market on the global stage. AAP works independently within Sotheby’s, and serves a wide range of collectors with the broad aim of ‘refining’ the market today and for the future. Services include collection assessment and advisory in all its […]
Based in Antibes, Onshore Cellars mainly specialises in sourcing and arranging wines to line the cellars of superyachts. It’s a tricky job, explains sales director Rosie Clarkson. ‘Everything is last-minute,’ she says. ‘The challenge is getting the wine to the client in the right place at the right time.’ Onshore can source and deliver wines and spirits around the world, and offers onboard consultation and stock assessment to ensure that wines are looked after. ‘We always have a dedicated person to a boat,’ says Clarkson. A former brand manager at Armit Wines, Clarkson became set on a career in wine after tasting a 1945 Haut-Brion: ‘That was when the penny dropped and I was off to Bordeaux!’
Founded in 1977 by David and Kate Cottingham, DK Engineering offers acquisitions, restoration, race preparation, service, accident repair and supply of parts for all Ferrari and Maserati models. The company developed from Cottingham’s love for XK Jaguars, before his attention turned to restoring Ferraris. He was ‘fascinated by their much broader range of engine designs, and I started restoring and rebuilding earlier examples of the marque’. New avenues soon evolved. As well as its expertise with older models, the company keeps abreast of new models and is always bringing in ‘new blood’. Its fleet of 15 mechanics includes several who have been trained at the Ferrari factory.
Blenheim-based RM Sotheby’s leads the auction market, with no other house matching its record for sales above $1 million and combined value. European classics specialist Paul Darvill attributes its success to bringing the most exciting cars under the hammer. It is breaking into Germany with an auction next year, and has opened a private sales division. ‘Auction is not for everybody,’ he says. ‘We want clients to talk to us even if they feel auction isn’t their bag.’ The market may have slowed, but there is appetite among collectors. ‘There are still strong values being achieved for really great pre-war cars,’ says Darvill. ‘This part of the market is underpinned by enthusiasts and serious collectors not really interested in investment.’
London-based Isabelle de La Bruyère heads the client advisory wing of Christie’s, where she works to form and sell collections, many of which include works that fetch world record prices at auction. She joined the world’s oldest auction house in 1999, working as a specialist in the Impressionist and Modern and Oriental art divisions before launching its Dubai office. Her advice to collectors is to ‘trust yourself and trust your taste’. ‘The reality is that you will make mistakes – your taste today will not be the same in ten years’ time because we all evolve. Art is emotional and a collection doesn’t have to be perfect right away.’ The art world, says de La Bruyère, is ‘extremely intimidating’ and is getting more complex. The role of an adviser at Christie’s is to steer collectors to the best art available within their tastes and budget, most importantly making the industry […]
Manfredi della Gherardesca cut his teeth in the art world as director of the L’Antiquaire & the Connoisseur Gallery in New York, followed by stints at Citibank’s private art advisory wing and as chairman of Sotheby’s Italy. Since setting up MDG Fine Arts in London in 2000, he has brought collectors together with galleries, institutions and auction houses. In 2016 he expanded into design and interiors, and he has arranged a number of exclusive properties. ‘The old saying is that success in business is dictated by whom you know. I think it would be nice if it was also dictated by what you know,’ he says. The art world is a ‘huge maze’, he adds, and having pride in your own taste is vital if a collection is to be reflective of the person behind it.
Recommended by Lord Rose, the former boss of Marks & Spencer, and regarded as ‘unfailingly helpful and knowledgeable’ by a client, Susie De Paolis advises clients on portfolio and cellar management. The key to offering the best advice is having a ‘close rapport’ with the client in order to understand their tastes, budget and consumption. It’s also a matter of understanding the industry inside out. ‘Everyone has a different agenda,’ she says. ‘Some just want a portfolio to drink it, others are buying for investment, and everyone has different tastes, so I have to get to know my clients really well.’ De Paolis, who has been working in wine since the Seventies, began the her advisory consultancy business in 2001. She keeps a strict cap on the number of clients she’ll have at a given time, and logs a comprehensive database of their every bottle. ‘When a client has 2,000 […]
Luke Dugdale co-founded Cadell + Co in 2015 after more than 25 years in finance, where he launched the art lending division of Deutsche Bank. The first advisory subject to FCA standards, the firm applies ‘the highest level of professional standards to the unregulated and difficult art sector’, Dugdale explains. Cadell + Co works with trusts, lawyers, professional services, private banks and family offices. ‘Most of our clients are market professionals and are all regulated themselves,’ he says. ‘We’re very much putting ourselves into the same camp.’ Dugdale himself is a collector of Fifties and Sixties watches. ‘HNWs will all collect something,’ he says. ‘There will always be something they’re passionate about.’
Richard Ellison set up online-only merchant Wanderlust Wine after ten years in finance to offer top-drawer wines from lesser-known producers. Its focus is on sustainability: all its wines, sourced directly from producers, are organically farmed, organic or biodynamic. ‘Provenance in food and wine has become more and more important,’ he says. ‘People are much more passionate about it and interested to explore.’ As well as merchant service, Wanderlust also offers private client wine sourcing (including fine and rare bottles) and a curated wine club. It also claims to be the only merchant in the capital able to offer ‘wine on demand’, where bottles can be received on a customer’s doorstop within an hour of placing an order.
As senior international consultant head of sales and principal auctioneer at Christie’s, David Elswood presides over a legacy that has seen the hammer drop on the finest bottles since 1766. Bordeaux and Burgundy remain the stock in trade at auction, he tells Spear’s, but the growth of online sales has given Christie’s an outlet to offer a more diverse range of fine wines and spirits from both the old and new worlds. Elswood notes that market has stabilised at the top end, which has meant another strong year for the house. ‘If you’re an enthusiastic and passionate consumer of good wine, you’ve never had it so good,’ he adds. ‘Every continent is now producing great wine in a way that we’ve never seen in past times.’
Knowledge, trust and discretion form the bedrock of Fiskens, which specialises in ‘the most important’ vintage, classic and competition cars. Founder Gregor Fisken is one of very few people to have raced in all four classes of the Le Mans 24 hour. Having spent ‘a childhood immersed in vintage automobiles’, he worked as a mechanic for the pre-war restorer and dealer Bunty Scott-Moncrieff, followed by a stint at Coys of Kensington. ‘Our customers must always be able to rely on our integrity, impeccable attention to detail, and unparalleled expertise,’ says Fisken. ‘Our belief is that buying and selling old cars should be fun. Owning them should satisfy – driving them should thrill.’
Former Sotheby’s senior director Joseph Friedman is especially well placed to navigate the industry on behalf of clients through both private treaty and auction sales. His advice for new collectors is to be ‘ambitious but realistic’ when they approach the market for the first time: the industry is ‘more selective now’. In 2013 Friedman was commissioned to source the finest antiques for the renovation of the Ritz in Paris, where he discovered an unrecorded masterpiece by Louis XIV’s official painter, Charles Le Brun. The Sacrifice of Polyxena had been valued for insurance at a few thousand but was later sold at auction for nearly $2 million. Friedman is also the author of numerous publications on the fine and decorative arts.
Anne-Françoise Gavanon is the director of Frederick Mulder Ltd, a specialist in Picasso prints. ‘The print medium is a great point of entry, especially in relation to Picasso,’ she says. ‘One of the major Picasso prints is easily £2-2.5 million. If you want a beautiful painting from Picasso, you normally have to put down a lot more.’ The great thing about collecting Picasso is his varied and versatile career: ‘If you like more traditional styles then you can go for his new classical, if you like Cubism then he’s made wonderful Cubist prints,’ adds Gavanon. Picasso might be its speciality, but the company also deals in prints from the likes of Edvard Munch, Paul Wunderlich and Georges Rouault.
In the five years since acquiring the former RAF Bicester bomber station, Dan Geoghegan has turned Bicester Heritage into a haven for collectors and dealers. More than 35 specialists are based in the 425-acre site, and its annual events draw tens of thousands of enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. ‘In the words of a specialist, having a business at Bicester Heritage is like being strapped to a rocket,’ he says, laughing. ‘For the first time ever, you have a one-stop shop where you can buy and sell a vehicle, keep it here, participate in the events but also benefit from the skills and reassuring knowledge.’ Bicester Heritage continues to expand, with plans for a new hotel and conference centre, as well as 75,000sq ft of new workshop, office and showroom space. Plans are also unfolding to create an automotive resort for motoring past, present and future. ‘Everyone understands […]
Quality over volume is the mantra of Max Girardo’s eponymous firm, which he founded in 2016 after a 20-year stint at Bonhams and ten years at RM Sotheby’s, where he helped to set up its European division. ‘It doesn’t matter what make it is, it has to be a special car or a really good restoration,’ he says. ‘We never pride ourselves on being the cheapest.’ Girardo is one of the best-connected and best-known figures in the industry, and is able to offer a unique experience for collectors old and new. The firm turns away cars regularly because they don’t meet its high standards. Business has gone ‘amazingly well’ at Girardo’s cosy showroom in south-west London, where he has noticed a strong uptick in sales shifting towards the modern side of the market. Ferraris make up the bulk of sales, but marques such as Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and McLaren also […]
Marques displayed at Robert Glover’s showrooms in Bicester Heritage are carefully chosen for their significance, originality and, of course, desirability. ‘The icing on the cake is if a car is really original,’ says Glover, a former international auctioneer at Bonhams, who has been attending motoring events for as long as he can remember. ‘There is a real pleasure in selling those cars where we get to paint a picture of their history.’ Glover oversaw sales of Edwardian, post-vintage, grand prix and racing cars at Bonhams, and brings this expertise to his business. Though it primarily deals in pre-war motors, it will happily use its extensive contacts to source newer models. More and more clients are collectors looking to take their vehicles on competition-based events, he says: ‘The market is becoming more about the driving experience. A lot of the pre-war sports cars are great cars for enthusiasts and offer engaging […]
Burgundy specialist Goedhuis & Co has had another ‘brilliant’ year, according to founder and chairman Johnny Goedhuis. A name synonymous with quality in product and service, the firm has been notably active in the region since it was founded in 1981 and hasn’t looked back since. Although its catalogue is broad, Burgundy was always the passion. ‘Over the years we have built up a relationship with a lot of the top growers,’ says Goedhuis. ‘Relationships in Burgundy are very important. We love the area. There is still a loyalty in the region which is remarkable and makes dealing with Burgundy such a pleasure.’ As well as settling into a new HQ at London Bridge, the firm has also added a new master of wine, Catherine Petrie, to the buying team. Its private client list continues to grow worldwide, and the firm continues to expand its offering of New World bottles. […]
Jamie Graham launched Brunswick Fine Wines & Spirits with Carlos De Haan in 2016 after noticing a need for a business focused on customer service and expert sourcing. With more than 40 years’ experience between the two, few boutiques can command such a wide and deep knowledge of the field. Brunswick works with private collectors looking to buy and sell wines, which it lists on its online inventory. Relationships with buyers are cordial and Graham works with experienced collectors as well as HNWs new to the market. (The firm also offers private storage accounts through its Vine International facility at Tilbury Docks.) ‘We’re really ascertaining what people want, whether wine is an appendage to their lives or they are really interested and involved ,’ says Graham. ‘No client is the same.’ Graham’s advice for new collectors is to ‘drink as widely as possible’. ‘When you’re in a restaurant, be quite […]
A Mayfair institution dating back all the way to 1936, Richard Green’s two galleries are now overseen by his son Jonathan, who buys, sells and advises on the company’s broad range of paintings, from the 17th to the 21st century. The galleries’ displays are constantly changing, featuring works from the likes of Henry Moore and Frank Auerbach, and business is consistently robust, despite the volatile pound and political uncertainty. The gallery offers advice from pre-purchase to final delivery and has worked with a great number of collectors and galleries worldwide, with notable sales including Caspar Netscher’s Woman Feeding a Parrot (1666) to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. ‘Our taste, our background and generational immersion in the art business allow clients to feel they can trust us to buy great things and to pay the right price,’ says Jonathan Green. The firm also has extensive experience managing collection for […]
Alexander Hall graduated from Oxford in law and worked in banking until a sabbatical on his stepfather’s vineyards prompted him to move to Bordeaux. He set up Vineyard Intelligence to offer on- and off-market property search in France, as well as audit, evaluation and negotiation services and post-acquisition advice. ‘There’s not really anyone that does what we do,’ he says. Clients are varied, and reasons for wanting a vineyard range from pleasure to business. Hall describes it as a ‘hyper niche’ investment and warns it’s not a simple process: ‘There are fantastic lifestyle elements associated with owning and running a vineyard. The bottom line is to do it as a business and look at things like production costs before you can expect all of these lifestyle elements.’ Hall holds a French property transactions licence, is a tutor at the Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux, and describes running his firm as […]
Duncan Hamilton founded the business in 1948, and it continues to evolve today under Hamilton’s son, Adrian: it has recently moved into a new 20,000sq ft facility in Hampshire. ‘We’re a bit like an art dealer with wheels on each corner of the picture frame,’ says Hamilton, who is eight years into building the tremendous ROFGO collection of Gulf-sponsored racing cars. Recent notable sales have included a Porsche 962, a Jaguar E-Type and a Ferarri 250 short wheel base. When to comes to investment, its more than just the returns. ‘The bottom line is that it doesn’t attract capital gains tax, is much more fun than having a share certificate in the top drawer, and people can have some fun and drive them,’ he says.
A regular host of tastings, Tom Harrow is one of the wine world’s most recognisable figures thanks to his affable charm and his work championing independent wines from all corners of the globe. Whether it’s the annual wine cruise he hosts at the Monaco Yacht Show or a three-day Champagne tasting across the region, clients can expect the unexpected from Harrow. ‘We’re always interested in hearing from anyone who is either bored of where they are in their wine journey, or are just beginning out,’ he says. ‘Quite frankly we want to do it in the most fun and engaging way possible.’ The advisory process starts from what the client wants. The resultant relationship is ‘more honestly representing what they want, rather than we have to sell’. The company covers all aspects of wine collecting, including cellar and portfolio management. ‘We can point people in the direction of wine they […]
‘Once people are buying at auction, it usually means that they’ve achieved a certain degree of knowledge and understanding of wine and its value,’ says Richard Harvey MW, Bonhams’ global head of wine. He describes the Bonhams offering as a ‘very professional service’ focused on its clients in terms of how wines are presented and sold. Most deals are paid out in three weeks. With specialists in Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Bonhams offers independent advice to buyers and sellers. The department prides itself on its wide range of vintages, including wines from Australia, Lebanon, Madeira and Spain. The auction house also has a substantial presence in spirits: back in May it sold a rare bottle of the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60-Year-Old for $1.1 million. ‘Auctions offer an opportunity to acquire wines that are not available elsewhere,’ says Harvey. ‘People come into auction houses to […]
‘It’s an exciting time for us,’ says Henry Highley, who joined Phillips in 2009 and is now head of contemporary art evening sales. He also takes up auctioneer duties. This year Highley has brought the gavel down on Basquiat’s Flexible for $43 million in New York in May, and Picasso’s La Dormeuse at £41 million in London in March – the house’s best ever performance. ‘It’s incredibly rewarding when you can be a part of a collection and be instrumental in the advice you give them,’ he says. ‘What’s most exciting is you grow with your clients.’ A personal collector of ceramics, Highley has observed African American art becoming a new focal point for collectors.
After 12 years as finance director at Christie’s, Philip Hoffman launched the Fine Art Group in 2001. Noticing the need for investment-focused approaches to the art market, the firm was the first to establish a $25 million ‘art hedge fund’ that later morphed into six successive funds. ‘We are basically the merchant bank of the art world,’ he says. ‘We have clients in over 20 countries.’ Last year saw record levels of growth in art lending, where the in-house team can get finance arranged in less than a week for the vast majority of pieces. Hoffman says he’s ‘lucky’ that he enjoys all types of art, with his personal penchants spanning several centuries from Canaletto to Mondrian and Christopher Wool.
There isn’t a more recognisable name in the business than Berry Bros & Rudd, and chief executive Dan Jago is in the business of ensuring it stays that way. ‘We’ve had to evolve and modernise the business,’ he says. ‘We continue to thrive and grow.’ Despite being Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, BBR has always been at the cutting edge. It was the first wine retailer to open an online wine shop back in 1994, and has continued to develop its online capabilities to include the launch of industry-leading fine wine trading platform, BBX. Changes to the company have been subtle during Jago’s time in charge, to maintain the traditions and heritage of the UK’s ninth oldest family-owned business. Its private client division continues to grow, tastings are plentiful. As demand for top bottles escalates and interest continues to develop in emerging markets, Jago expects the prices of vintages […]
Specialist auction house H&H Classic handles everything from 1890s Brighton runners to 1990s F1 cars. With only six auctions a year, it can arrange its catalogues with incredible attention, says head of sales Damian Jones. ‘The wider economic factors which have made classic cars attractive as an alternative asset class remain in place,’ he says. ‘Buy the best example that you can afford.’ Jones, whose dream car is a Ford GT40 Chassis 1075, is canny when it comes to advice on buying: ‘The biggest returns will come with the biggest risks. Those who grew up playing Gran Turismo and Grand Theft Auto will soon be collectors, and some of the most popular cars from such computer games could prove wise investments long-term.’
Bonhams director of motoring James Knight oversees sales at some of the world’s most distinctive motoring events, including Goodwood, where he speaks to Spear’s fresh from a record-breaking sale for a British motor in Europe: £10 million for a 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato. ‘Although the majority of cars that sold met expectations, about 5 per cent exceeded our top estimates,’ Knight says of the sale. ‘It’s a nice barometer that demonstrates that the very best examples still have good depths of competitive bidding.’ Although it’s primarily a buyer’s market, business can still be done. ‘There are people out there that pretty much want any car that we offer,’ he says. Sales at Bonhams are a broad church catering to the full spectrum of collectors’ tastes and pockets, from dawn of motoring era Veteran cars to modern Formula 1 single-seaters. Sales can go for anything from £5,000 to record-breaking prices […]
Ten Trinity Square, one of the city’s most historic landmarks, houses the first Château Latour discovery room outside France, as well as an exclusive dining room adorned by insignia from the vineyard. The wine for the club – and the Michelin-starred restaurant in the hotel – is overseen by Jan Konetzki, its director of wine. ‘We really want to talk to guests and help them discover themselves while reading the wine list,’ says Konetzki, whose CV includes arranging the wine list of restaurant Gordon Ramsay. ‘A great wine list needs to give the gift of possibility.’ He also works with sourcing and advising the collections of private clients, identifying and broadening their tastes with supreme accuracy.
Having opened her first gallery at the age of 22, Olyvia Kwok started out working with emerging Asian markets and building art funds. Since setting up Willstone Management in 2010, Kwok has worked mainly in providing art investment portfolios and finance for family offices and HNWs, many of whom are based in Asia. ‘Clients are interested in buying art as a tangible asset as well as for its unique aesthetic and emotional value,’ she explains. ‘We trade in scarcity values, and there aren’t going to be any more Picassos painted.’ ‘Having been in every possible position within the art market – gallerist, broker, adviser and collector – I can sense the needs and gap in the market,’ she adds.
The aim for Atlas Fine Wines remains the same as when Simon Larkin founded it in 2010: personal advice to collectors powered by market intelligence, analysis, broking and stock management. ‘We’re able to take someone from fairly early days, build their confidence and guide them to gradually understand what they’re looking to achieve,’ he says. Most sales are done on a one-to-one basis, building trust with clients. One piece of advice Larkin finds himself giving often is not to focus too heavily on a particular region. ‘Some people come to us as they find themselves a bit overloaded with one particular genre of wine and miss out on the diversity offered by the market, and it gets them into a subtly entrenched position,’ he says.
It’s been a good year for Chelsea institution Lea & Sandeman. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, it also received a Royal Warrant in April. Co-founder Charles Lea puts it down to consistency: ‘I was looking back at our first flyer when we opened the shop, and all the things we said then are all the things that we still stand for today.’ The online business is growing, but Lea says nothing replicates the experience of meeting customers in store: ‘There’s a real desire from the customer to have an interaction with someone who understands what they’re talking about.’ At the moment Lea is enjoying the wines of Tuscan great Carlo Ferrini, whose Giodo he has a soft spot for. ‘He’s quite possibly the greatest current Tuscan oenologist,’ he says, beaming.
One of the first people to catch on to the potential of classic cars as an asset class, Alexander Lewis set up his classic car advisory to help HNWs buy and sell cars off-market and thus avoid the hefty mark-ups which come with buying at auction or through a dealership. Lewis learnt his craft from a stint at JD Classics, where he helped to set up its first London showroom. Clients come to him through personal recommendation – Lewis didn’t even have a website until recently – and privacy is a top priority. It became obvious to me that HNWs wanted to transact in a private manner on a more sensible fee structure with someone that they trusted,’ he says. The market may have flattened out lately, but that’s far from negative, according to Lewis. Rather, he says, it has condensed to become more collector-focused: ‘Where you’ve got superb, rare […]
After leaving the world of banking for the wine industry, Ella Lister noticed the need for a data-driven approach to wine investment. Soon after, Wine Lister was born with the aim of bringing ‘analytical rigour’ to wine investment. ‘Fine wine, which is now an asset class, needs to have a truly objective and independent way of rating and evaluating,’ says Lister. Two years on, the platform is proving a hit among merchants and savvy collectors. As prices for top-end bottles continue to rise and the industry becomes ever more complex, investors need to approach the market with a long-term view, she advises. A lifetime proponent of Italian wines, Lister says: ‘Anyone seeking the Burgundy of Italy should look towards Barolo and Barbaresco.’
Joe Macari started out trading cars to help fund a bid to become a racing driver. A racing accident led him to focus on the firm, which includes used car sales, official Ferrari and Maserati aftersales, and racing and accident management. ‘I’m dealing with kings of countries, one day a pop star, then a City broker, then someone who runs a building company. That’s the thing about cars, there’s no class – it’s just about the people who love them,’ he says. For Ferraris, it’s hard to find anyone better than Macari: from Terratossas to Daytonas, there’s no shortage of iconic models in his showroom. He admits: ‘If I wasn’t a dealer, I’d be a collector of old Sixties Ferraris – there’s something about them.’
Helen Macintyre set up her advisory in 2007 after roles at Christie’s and with dealer Richard Knight. With an emphasis on discretion and client relationships, she works with private, museum and corporate clients to buy, sell, manage and finance collections. She advises new collectors: ‘You’ve got to take a long-term view. It’s not about forming a collection overnight – it’s about the collector’s taste evolving as well and really growing into it. Macintyre , who can be seen on panels and giving talks at the likes of Frieze and Sotheby’s, stresses the importance of due diligence. ‘Authentication, condition and having market knowledge is invaluable when researching an artwork,’ she says.
With 42 years in the business of restoration, Lance McCormack started out in 1976 as a Rolls-Royce apprentice. In 1990 he started Romance of Rust, his very own car restoration business. Today he works alongside his sons Algernon and Merlin (see right) to offer a one-stop shop to their loyal client base. Craftsman McCormack starred in the TV show Salvage Squad and shares his expertise with product design MA students at the Royal College of Art. His fantasy car is an early Bentley T1 two-door fixed-head coupe by Mulliner Park Ward. ‘You can park it outside the Dorchester next to the most blingtastic Bentley and it would outclass it,’ he says.
‘I’m always keen to give advice, and if I’ve got a car in that I don’t think someone should buy, I’ll tell them,’ says Merlin McCormack, who started Duke of London in 2014 at the age of just 20. Cars are in his blood – he was restoring them when he was eight and was selling on eBay by the age of 11. McCormack became a private equity broker before returning to the workshop after some advice he gave to a client of his father’s ‘snowballed into a business’. Duke of London specialises in the acquisition and sale of cars, motorcycles and bicycles. His personal soft spot is for the poster cars of the Eighties and Nineties. ‘They were dismissed as not even modern classics and are now coming into their own,’ he says.
Johnny Messum is the founder of an experimental art space housed in a 13th-century barn that celebrates the creative narrative across genres from ceramics to the spoken word. He has also assisted with the running of the Messums Gallery on Cork Street, one of Mayfair’s finest in the 55 years since it was established. There’s also Messums Online Exchange, a trading platform that combines the firm’s expertise with a platform to connect buyer to seller. ‘I look at it as evolved arts management business,’ he says. ‘All of our component parts come from looking at what the art world is doing well, how we can improve things and looking at what we can do in the future.’ Transparency and clarity, on both sides of the table, have been the foundation of the business since it first opened its doors: ‘People want to buy and sell knowing they’re buying authentic goods […]
Hexagon specialises in Porsches (which make up around 60 per cent of its stock), Ferraris and Aston Martins. Founded by Paul Michaels in 1963, its longevity is down to the quality of its cars. ‘The number one rule is to buy the best you can afford,’ says Michaels. ‘That’s why we’ve always succeeded. We’ve only ever tried to supply the best, never the cheapest, and we’ve always been lucky to deal with really good cars.’ Hexagon looks for low-mileage, top-provenance vehicles. It has its own body shop and vehicle preparation unit less than a mile from its showroom. Michaels, whose first car was a Jaguar S100, says he doesn’t have a dream car as he’s ‘owned them all’. That said, the last car he’d ever sell is his Jaguar Eagle E-Type.
After 12 years working his way up the ranks at Fiskens to become its business manager, James Mitchell moved on, writing a book about Jaguar and starting Pendine, which focuses on British motors from the immediate postwar period through to the Seventies. ‘I invite clients over to the showroom and Bicester Heritage to work out what they want to be achieving,’ says Mitchell. ‘It’s all about understanding a client’s expectations. There’s nothing more satisfying than working out a client’s requirements and then matching them with the exact right car.’ One of the highlights to pass through the garage was one of the earliest surviving E-Types – one of the first 100 ever made, it had not been seen since 1984.
Daniel Morris set up Corfield Morris with Tim Corfield in 2003 after stints in the museum world and Sotheby’s. Its dedicated team is able to advise on everything from Old Masters to emerging contemporary, as well as jewellery, classic cars and watches. ‘We don’t charge for our time but we will be prepared to invest a great deal of time with our clients at the outset, introducing them to the art market and explaining how it works, putting everything into context,’ he says. ‘We are great believers of the sheer fact that the art market is very daunting to a lot of people.’ An artwork that struck Morris recently was a ‘monumental’ Rift by Richard Serra at the Gagosian: ‘I was blown away.’
Art sleuth Philip Mould recently celebrated 30 years in the industry, during which time he has made a name uncovering seminal pieces of lost work, including some of Gainsborough’s earliest known works and lost Van Dycks. As art adviser to the Palace of Westminster for 20 years, he hunted down some major works which led to him receiving an OBE in 2003. Today regarded as the world’s leading expert on British portraiture, Mould, when he isn’t co-presenting BBC1’s Fake or Fortune?, continues his work with private collectors and institutions to build collections, offering advice on all aspects of conservation and restoration, a service often used to reveal its true attribution and value. Otherwise, Mould is very much present at his Pall Mall base, which he describes as ‘the gallery of my dreams’. Over three storeys, the gallery forgoes needless gratuity for 18th-century hues and hessian wallpapers to let the art […]
Hampshire-based Bradley James Classics focuses on selling and restoring working classics from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. ‘We want to sell cars that you can use every day, rather than a show queen that’s kept in a bubble and taken out to go to car shows,’ says MD and co-founder Danny O’Keeffe. Clients cover a wide spectrum, with MG and Triumph especially popular. ‘We see young people who, rather than putting £30,000 into an uninteresting investment when interest rates are so low, decide to buy a classic car instead,’ he says. O’Keeffe traces his love for cars back to the James Bond films, in which the DB5 became a dream car. He now owns one and takes it to Le Mans and his home in the south of France.
Since becoming one of the wine industry’s youngest CEOs at the age of 40, Patrick O’Connor has kept the online marketplace Fine + Rare, which allows users to buy, sell and store bottles seamlessly, on the cutting edge. Its ability to track and scour the globe to source and gauge demand is unique. ‘This gives collectors incredible access,’ O’Connor explains. ’It’s our job to make sure they can search, while we curate to offer them the wines they’re looking for.’ O’Connor has a strong interest in Bordeaux: ‘I like the balance and structure, and its ability to deal with food better than any other wine,’ he says. He’s also a fan of Château Rayas in the Northern Rhône: ‘When I’m not trying to sell it, I’m buying it for myself.’
One of London’s leading dealers, specialising in everything from classics to electric motors, Prindiville continues to grow and prosper. ‘We focus predominantly on what people who work in or come to the City buy, so niche, excellent example cars, including all the beautiful old stuff,’ says founder Alex Prindiville, who restored his first car, a Jaguar E-Type, when he was just six. Prindiville, who can also be seen on National Geographic’s Supercar Megabuild, cut his teeth repairing Ferraris and Lamborghinis before he ‘fell into sales as buying and selling took over the repair business.’ The firm is currently focused on growing its electric vehicle offering and moving into yachting, with new venture Prindiville Marine.
Viola Raikhel-Bolot founded 1858 Ltd Art Advisory in 2004 with Harvey Mendelson after noticing a latent demand for impartial advice on art market transactions. Almost 15 years later, the firm has expanded to encompass bespoke services for every stage of the collection lifecycle, advising on curating, collection management, purchases and art finance. Based in London, 1858 also has offices in Düsseldorf, Paris, New York and Sydney. ‘We have the skills to help our clients make informed decisions when transacting in the art market,’ she says. The company does not represent artists and has no ties to dealers or galleries, earning its fee solely from successful transactions. For new collectors, Raikhel-Bolot recommends seeing as much art as possible. ‘Identifying what you don’t like is just as important as identifying what you do,’ she says. ‘Where possible I like collectors to meet the artist, engage and build a relationship with them. It’s exciting […]
Smith & Taylor was the first Central London specialist in private wine storage and management, providing expert service and an eye for detail and care. Its Chelsea Bridge cellars are fitted with ultra-modern air-conditioning turbines and humidifiers. ‘Clients want to centralise their wine holdings in one store, on one inventory, with one custodian, with one line of accountability,’ says co-founder Sebastian Riley-Smith. ‘Wealth is global-centric now. The rich have become nomads, moving between one financial centre and another, and they want their wine with them.’ The firm designs and builds bespoke wine rooms and cellars, and can also maintain inventories with appraisals and valuations without conflict of interest.
Coys of Kensington has been auctioning fine automobiles since 1919 and recently moved from its Kensington home to a bigger, purpose-built facility in Richmond. As it approaches its 100th anniversary, the house continues to pack its auction calendar with events at some of the most glamorous locations in the world, from Blenheim Palace to the Mondial Automobile in Paris. CEO Chris Routledge joined the firm in 1991 and served as MD before becoming its CEO in 2015. ‘Buy what you like, not what you’re told to buy,’ is his advice. ‘Seek your own counsel aesthetically, emotionally and romantically.’ Coys’ ability to bring the best marques under the hammer is attributed to its enviable client database and network of contacts. It holds preview auctions at its HQ, and offers online evaluations for those looking to sell. Cars that have recently gone under the Coys hammer include a 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL […]
Niels Sherry is the general manager of 67 Pall Mall, which in the three years since its launch has become an institution for wine obsessives. Its wine list runs to more than 4,000 bottles, 750 of which are available by the glass – an offering unmatched anywhere in the capital. So strong is 67’s popularity that it’s planning to expand the club further less than a year after unveiling a new first floor, which has been enjoyed ‘thoroughly’ by its members. ‘The breadth and depth of our list has really developed over the past 12 months, and we’ve intensified the events that we host,’ says Sherry. Members of 67 are a ‘real cross-section of people’ covering all walks of life, from lawyers to entrepreneurs. The club is also looking to increase its proportion of female members from 35 per cent. ‘We’re not a snobbish club and are very relaxed and […]
Harry Smith grabbed headlines in March when he bought 13 Picassos on behalf of clients during a single week of auctions, to the tune of £113 million. ‘I’ve been in this game for over 40 years and this was very different to anything I’ve done before,’ he says. ‘Normally I do it on the telephone so nobody knows it was me.’ Smith has presided over an exceptionally strong year at Gurr Johns, which has expanded into India and online through a new partnership with valuation app Collector IQ. ‘We want to make the valuation side of the business the Bloomberg of the art market,’ he says. ‘What we feel is people are now starting to look at their portfolios in a slightly different way, more as an important part of their overall wealth.’
It’s been a stellar year for Bonhams and for Ralph Taylor, who was appointed global head of postwar and contemporary art last September – a title which is testament to the auction house’s increasing presence on the world stage. Since joining the company in 2014, Taylor has overseen four consecutive years of growth. With the highest sell-through rate in the industry, and growth in market share of well over 1,000 per cent since 2014, there really is plenty for Taylor to celebrate. ‘We look for clients we really want to work with, give them good, honest advice, and build long-term relationships,’ he says of Bonhams’ approach. ‘This is not something they will necessarily find elsewhere.’ This targeted approach has more than paid dividends. ‘It comes down to doing everything to the highest possible standard,’ says Taylor. ‘Bonhams is a very long-established company, but we are a relatively new, emerging department […]
Falcon Fine Art (FFA) commercial director Guy Vaissière brought two decades of experience – including senior roles at Phillips and Sotheby’s – when he joined in 2016. The firm lends against a broad range of fine art while allowing collectors to retain possession of their pieces. Financing comes from FFA’s own balance sheet, using the art alone as collateral. ‘It’s really important when doing this job to understand the asset,’ says Vaissière. ‘That’s where people who have art expertise can make the difference between a bank or more traditional lender, who really doesn’t quite understand the complexities of the art involved.’ Vaissière’s own collection is ‘wide-ranging’, with works from the 16th to 20th centuries. Modern British art is his favourite period.
Peter Vardy is the third Vardy in a row to take on the business started by his grandfather Reg in 1923. Today it’s a vast operation, with 900 employees and 30 dealerships. Two years in, Vardy is maintaining the momentum thanks to a vision aimed at offering a broad range of models across the whole price spectrum. ‘We’re trying to do something on a bigger scale than most people have tried so far,’ he says. ‘This is an iconic investment opportunity as well as something you can enjoy.’ Vardy’s first job was manning a petrol pump at the age of 14. A year later he moved into sales at his grandfather’s business. The dream car for Vardy is Elvis Presley’s BMW 507, whose white model would get covered in the lipstick of adoring fans.
Since opening in 2012, Hedonism has fast become a Mayfair establishment, with a growing stock of more than 11,000 wines and spirits. And it continues to make waves, having recently collaborated with the magnificent Hide restaurant on Piccadilly to provide one of the biggest wine lists in London. What unites every bottle in the store is that it is there to be drunk, says head buyer Alistair Viner, who joined in 2011. ‘From the very outset we came to wine retailing from a very different angle,’ he says. ‘We wanted to make things very accessible and take away some of the barriers and fear that people have of wine, in that it can be very intimidating.’ Hedonism fosters an informal environment for experienced drinkers and novices – they can select records to play while they browse through everything from top-line Burgundy to Armenian noir. ‘We have wines from all over […]
A key figure in the creation and development of the Aston Martin Works’ Heritage Operations and Jaguar Land Rover’s classics division, CMC managing director Nigel Woodward understands the importance of collecting to both manufacturer and buyer. ‘Hopefully we offer not just the ability to restore cars and bring them back to their former glory, but also to help maintain and service and prepare them and keep them on the road,’ says Woodward. CMC is best known for Jaguar restorations (particularly E-Types) but also works on anything from Bugattis to Mustangs. Woodward is passionate about the Ferrari 512 and Alfa Romeos from the Sixties, while his career highlight was restoring a Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB3S.