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The World's Biggest Art Collectors Have Seen Their Fortunes Surge This Year

The World’s Biggest Art Collectors Have Seen Their Fortunes Surge This Year

Just how much money is sloshing around among the world’s richest art collectors? Three New York auction houses have sold a record $2.7 billion worth of art since May 5. Christie’s recorded the first-ever $1 billion-plus week, which included the sale of a Picasso for almost $180 million to an anonymous buyer.

The 10 billionaires with the most valuable art collections tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index include French luxury products billionaire François Pinault, as well as U.S. financiers Ronald Perelman and Steve Cohen.

The top 10 control a combined $157 billion in assets, and their fortunes are up $20 billion in 2015. They also have collections valued at more than $14 billion, as well as about $15 billion in cash and other liquid assets, so there’s plenty of money left to continue fueling the surge in art prices.

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The prices are being pushed up by new buyers who are heading straight for the top of the market. That’s good news for Pinault, the world’s 56th-richest person. He has a net worth of $15.8 billion, including an art collection valued at $1 billion, according to the index. He also owns Christie’s, which charges a buyer’s commission of 12 percent on lots valued at more than $2 million, according to its website.