A Record-Breaking Warhol & Nintendo’s Stock Split
The $195 million sale suggests the art market is chugging along, and Nintendo appeals to retail investors
Cultured is a newsletter that gets readers up to speed on the most interesting things going on at the intersection of finance, art, collectibles, NFTs, and more. Cultured is produced by Otis, an alternative investment platform that was recently acquired by Public.com.
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🗞 STORIES OF THE DAY
The highly anticipated sale of one of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe silkscreens was a massive success. “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” sold for a record $195 million last week, making it the most expensive American artwork ever sold.
The Warhol was sold without a guarantee (a pre-auction agreement to buy the work if it doesn’t hit a minimum price) — a risky and incredibly rare move for a work this valuable. Without a guarantee, a work risks being “burned,” or losing value in future sales.
This sale was the first big record of the spring auction season. It’s the first fully in-person season in two years, and the Warhol has signaled to many buyers that the market is excited and ready to buy.
Our Take: Warhols are one of the best measures of the strength of the current art market.
Among blue-chip artworks, Warhols are particularly consistent in size and medium, making them an excellent bellwether for the art market as a whole. The $195 million record is big, but it’s still less than estimates of $400 million that were being thrown around before the sale. That’s made some collectors worried that, while the art market appears strong, there are still some cracks.
Nintendo announced a 10-for-1 stock split, which will make shares more accessible for retail investors. The company also said it expected sales of its popular Switch console to drop this year, citing supply chain shortages.
The stock split will take place on October 1, when each share of common stock will be split into 10 separate shares. This will boost liquidity and lower the price of shares, making it easier for individual investors to buy up stock.
The company also said Switch sales would drop 9%, following a decrease last year. Both declines weren’t due to a drop in demand, but rather ongoing semiconductor shortages that have led to the company producing fewer consoles.
Our Take: Nintendo stock split may be an attempt to ride the collecting wave.
Vintage Nintendo games rank high among video game collectors, often bringing in record sums. The growth of meme stocks, coupled with the fact that retail investors tend to prefer brands that they already know, makes this an ideal moment for Nintendo to implement a stock split.
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