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2021 Review: Year in Charts

2021 was a banner year for alternative assets as returns reached new heights and multiple asset classes experienced record-breaking performances. Asset classes such as sports cards, video games, and NFTs garnered much of the media attention, but what about rare books, watches, and wine? Before we fully commit to 2022 and leave last year in the dust, let's review 2021 and compare to prior years with a combination of charts, graphs, and visuals.


Fine art sales soared in 2021 as prices easily eclipsed values in 2020. Only two sales from 2020 would have cracked the top 10 in 2021 and there were three sales last year that surpassed $90 million.


Rare books had their moments in the limelight (see Harry Potter), but the biggest story was the bounce back the asset class realized in 2021. After a down year in 2020, maybe because everyone was inside reading their books instead of selling them, 2021 sales turned a new page.

Comic Books

Heritage Auctions nearly doubled their comic book sales year over year and total sales are up 150% since 2018.


Luxury Week has become the premier US-based auction series at Sotheby's. In 2020, total sales for watches reached eight figures for the first time and in 2021, sales doubled year over year.


Beeple and CryptoPunks dominated the NFT space in 2021 as 8 of the 10 highest sales were connected to one of those two. As the calendar turns to a new year, will we see any new projects emerge and find a spot on this list next January?

Sports Cards and Memorabilia

With so much attention surrounding record sales and multi-million dollar cardboard and sneakers, the most underrated story was the emergence of F1 and the appreciation of athletes like Serena Williams.

Sports Tickets

In a world that has gone digital and all but eliminated physical tickets, 2021 was a monster year for sports ticket sales. The top 10 list was turned on its head last year as the three biggest sales in history took place in a three month period.


Pop the bubbly! Champagne exploded in 2021 after years of solid, but somewhat lagging returns. In 2021, the French-produced fizzy vino led all indices on Liv-Ex.

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