Art collection auction expected to be most valuable ever sold in New Zealand

The second half of an extensive art collection will soon go under the hammer and is expected to be one of the most valuable collections ever sold on our shores.

It includes pieces by Kiwi artists like Bill Hammond and Gordon Walters with auctioneers saying savvy collectors are looking towards art pieces to counter rising inflation.

Stepping into an art lover's dream.

"It's a collection of contemporary New Zealand art. It really captures a contemporary moment," said Webb's Auction House art director Charles Ninow.

That's worth over $2 million and includes the work of Gordon Walters, Shane Cotton, Robin White and the late Bill Hammond.

One Bill Hammond piece, Goods and Services, has an estimated price of $400,000 to $600,000.

The first half of the collection was sold at auction last year for a combined total of $3.9 million.

A masterpiece by Hammond sold for a record $940,000.

"The prices we achieved last year really put him in the upper echelon of artists and there's very, very few others in that club," Ninow said.

The suite of art was owned by a mystery Wellington man who decided to sell simply because he didn't have space for them anymore.

"It's owned by someone who kept art in their home, a domestic environment and the homes of their friends and family and really dedicated collector who brought a lot of living artists, especially when they perhaps weren't so well-known and who have become really well-known," Ninow said.

High art has always been accompanied by high prices but Webb's Auction House says prices continue to surge.

"Look I'm not an economist, but I can see that inflation it's out there, it's a thing people are talking about. We are seeing people use art as a hedge against that. Turning their money into something that won't evaporate," Ninow said.

With demand for art in New Zealand reaching new heights ever since COVID-19.

"The art market is doing better now than it ever has in New Zealand's history. It's more than tripled in size in the last three years, I certainly haven't seen that before," Ninow added.

And it could be prices that haven't been seen before when this art is auctioned off.