The value of art and cultural artifacts being exported from the UK shot up by a third in 2012, hitting its highest level since the financial crisis in 2008. Foreign punters lashed out almost £2 billion on art and cultural goodies in the year up to May 2012. The Artist's Resale Rights Directive, which gives artists or their heirs the right to 4% of resale values, came into effect at the start of 2012. The export figures suggest it hasn't done London any harm as an art sale centre in comparison with New York and Hong Kong, neither of which apply the art resale levy. Bruno Boesch, co-editor of The Art Collecting Legal Handbook, puts it in capitalist speak: "Art is an increasingly important trophy asset for international high net-worth individuals" (CLICK
). In other words foreign punters with sacks of dollars under the bed are seeking investments that promise a good return, not the piddling .5% offered by banks. The photo shows Christie's staff posing with Modigliani's Jeanne Hebuterne
, which went under the hammer in London earlier this year.