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The index of works by Britpack artists such as Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and Tracey Emin has grown by 126 per cent since 1995 and by over 26 per cent in the last year (December 2001 versus December 2002), showing continued support for works of art by Contemporary artists during the last 12 months.

Newly affluent collectors in their 30s and 40s are often keen to buy works their parents didn’t, and the Contemporary field for many is the exciting market of choice, the report continues.

The Zurich-AMR (Art Market Research) Art & Antiques Index, which tracks the performance of arts and antiques collections owned by the country’s High Net Worth consumers, identifies the following categories as those which have demonstrated the highest increase in value over the past 12 months:

1. Contemporary Art 100 Index up 26 per cent.
2. European 19th and 20th Century Sculpture up 10 per cent.
3. European 18th Century Porcelain up nine per cent.
4. General Books (comprising atlases, natural history books, books on architecture, English 19th century literature and Modern first editions up six per cent.
5. Old Masters up three per cent.

The categories that have experienced the most dramatic drop in value from 2001-2002 include:

1. European & oriental rugs/carpets down by 25 per cent.
2. English Regency furniture down 4 per cent.
3. Clocks and watches Index down one per cent.

Kris Coombes, client manager of Zurich’s Private Clients business, stressed the importance of selectiveness among buyers. “In the Contemporary art market in particular, the controversial nature of Contemporary pieces enables buyers to make a personal statement about their taste and financial status. Contemporary art has a huge image-building quality, demonstrating that the buyer has confidence to support new genres.”