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The rising stars of photography

As Photo London opens on Thursday, ever more young collectors are turning their attention to collection photographic art, says Chris Carter.

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Taryn Simon self-portrait

copyright Taryn Simon

Next Thursday, gallerists, dealers and collectors of photography will be descending on Somerset House for the annual Photo London fair. This year's headline Master of Photography exhibition honours 42-year-old American Taryn Simon "in recognition of her groundbreaking work". Her centrepiece, Image Atlas (2012), is a work created in collaboration with programmer Aaron Swartz, an activist who committed suicide in 2013, investigating "cultural differences and similarities by indexing top image results for given search terms across local engines throughout the world".

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Together with a greatly expanded "Discovery" section, it forms part of the fair's drive to attract a younger crowd in a bid to establish itself on the world stage as the home of innovation in photographic art. "Young people are fascinated by photography," Michael Benson, a co-founding director of Photo London, tells Tom Seymour in the British Journal of Photography. "They have a very different relationship to it than people of my age and generation."

It's a demographic that has helped to sustain Photo London, now in its third edition since having been resurrected. Between 2004 and 2006, a photo fair with the same name ran for three years until it was bought by the owners of Photo Paris, Reed Exhibitions, and closed a year later. "The wider consensus at the time," explains Seymour, "was that London simply couldn't sustain a photography fair without the backing of local institutions, or the kind of grass-roots enthusiasm the medium enjoys in France or Germany." That enthusiasm has since sprouted 35,000 visitors attended last year's Photo London over five days.

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Contemporary photography is an ideal medium for collectors who are just starting out as it tends to be more affordable compared with other non-photographic artworks. That's down to photography having yet to acquire the same cachet, but also to the nature of photography, which allows for a number of "editions" to be produced. "For the price of one major piece of contemporary art, you can build a significant collection of contemporary photography," says Benson on online auction website Mutual Art. Works at Photo London typically range in price from £300 to £300,000. "We see young buyers who come to begin collections, as well as established contemporary art collectors beginning to invest in photography seriously."

Christie's is holding a sale of contemporary photography on 18 May. Aside from Taryn Simon, other "rising stars" to keep an eye on, according to photographs specialist Jude Hull in Christie's magazine, include Julie Cockburn, Slovakian photographer Michal Pudelka, and Norwegian Anja Niemi.

Check your change


Most people will be looking to get rid of their old £1 coins over the summer, ahead of the deadline to spend them on 15 October. Some collectors, however, will be only be too happy to relieve you of them in particular of the "Edinburgh City", which is the rarest of the old £1 coins, according to website Change Checker's Scarcity Index, and sells for up to £15 online.

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Ahead of the release of the new £1 coins in March, more than 200,000 trial coins were issued to businesses to test their machines. These coins are not legal tender, but they have been selling online for prices from £150, with some fetching as much as £6,000, says Independent.co.uk.

As for the actual £1 coins, a series of minting errors has led to hefty windfalls for people lucky enough to have found them in their change. Examples have included coins with badly aligned text, misshapen edges or gaps between the two metals, and ones where the Queen's head is upside down or missing altogether. One such example fetched £250 on eBay.

The most expensive mis-struck £1 coin went for £295 last month. The Royal Mint admitted to the Daily Mirror that "variances" were likely due to "high volumes and speed of production". With around 2,000 £1 coins struck a minute, you can understand why. Nevertheless, that's good news for collectors and shoppers alike.

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Auctions

Going

A yellow 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale could well be the world's most coveted car, says Kyle Stock on Bloomberg Pursuits. Its millionaire owner Preston Henn, a South Florida flea-market magnate and racing aficionado, died in April, aged 86. If the car, which won its class at the 1965 Le Mans, and was one of only three made, went under the hammer, it would probably fetch between $50m and $75m, says Brian Rabold, vice-president of valuation for the Hagerty Group.

But you never know, says Stock it could one day be the first car to make $100m. For those who can't wait, on 18 May at Coys in London the first prototype Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (pictured) is expected to fetch between £2m and £2.5m.

Gone

A 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari has sold for $3.7m at Leake's in Dallas, Texas. Only 499 were made, but a special 500th one raised $7m in December for victims of the earthquake that struck Italy last August.

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