Art tops the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index in record-breaking year

08 March 2018

Nairobi, Kenya – Art topped the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII), overtaking wine and classic cars with an outstanding growth of 21% in 2017*, according to data compiled by Knight Frank for The Wealth Report 2018.

The strong performance follows a number of years when art had fallen behind other collectibles such as classic cars and wine. However, last year’s record-breaking sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for US$450 million—surpassing the previous world record by a staggering US$271 million—epitomises art’s recovery.

The 12th edition of The Wealth Report reveals that the KFLII’s value rose by 7% overall in the 12 months to December 2017.

Wine, KFLII’s top performing asset class in 2016, also had a strong year and saw double-digit growth (11%)**. Scarcity-driven markets, particularly for Burgundy, remained strong and demand from Asia and the Middle East continued to buoy prices.

According to The Wealth Report’s Attitudes Survey, 17% of Kenyan wealth advisors said their clients actively collect investments of passion such as art, wine, jewellery, watches and classic cars, compared to Africa’s average of 23% and 37% global.

The main reason why Kenya’s super-rich buy investments of passion is for status among peers, followed by joy of ownership, safe haven for capital, investment portfolio diversification, and capital appreciation, in that order.

Wealth advisors said 11% of Kenyan high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) increased their luxury investments in 2017, with a further 68% maintaining their collectible portfolios the same as in 2016.

The KFLII data showed that record-breaking sales also took place for a number of the index’s other asset classes in 2017:

-       In the classic car market, a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, raced by Stirling Moss, sold at auction for US$22.5 million—a record for a British car

-       Actor Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona watch sold for US$17.8 million, having been guided at US$1 million

-       Hong Kong jeweller Chow Tai Fook paid HK$553 million for the Pink Star 59.6-carat vivid pink diamond—a world record for a diamond or piece of jewellery

-       Estimated at £200,000, a set of four rare 16th or 17th century Chinese huanghuall chairs sold to an Asian buyer for £5.3 million

Andrew Shirley, Editor of The Wealth Report and KFLII, said: The strong performance of the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index in 2017 reflects the stunning prices paid for objects of passion throughout the year. The US$450 million bid for a painting by Leonardo da Vinci shows that keen collectors will stop at almost nothing to acquire the most sought-after and cleverly marketed works of art. The record price achieved by Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona watch also highlights the importance of provenance to collectors.”


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James Waithaka, PR & Communications Officer | Knight Frank Kenya, on

Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (to Q4 2017)

Luxury asset

Price Growth


















Classic Cars






Coloured diamonds






Chinese ceramics






*Art Market Research (AMR) data

**Knight Frank Fine Wines Index, compiled by Wine Owners

Notes: All data to Q4 2017

Sources: (art, Chinese ceramics, watches, jewellery), HAGI (classic cars), Wine Owners (wine) Stanley Gibbons (stamps, coins), Fancy Color Research Foundation (coloured diamonds). For methodology details please contact 

Reasons for buying luxury investments (Kenyan HNWIs)


Status among peers


Joy of ownership


Safe haven for capital


Investment portfolio diversification


Capital appreciation

Source: The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey 2018

Notes to Editors

Knight Frank LLP is the leading independent global property consultancy. Headquartered in London, Knight Frank has more than 15,000 people operating from 418 offices across 60 markets. The Group advises clients ranging from individual owners and buyers to major developers, investors and corporate tenants. For further information about the Company, please visit or

The Wealth Report 2018 is the 12th edition of the report published by Knight Frank to provide a global perspective on prime property and wealth. This annual publication includes price performance data for 100 global luxury property markets as well as the results of The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey and Knight Frank’s Global Cities Index.