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The value of British art exports has surged to its highest level since the credit crunch, despite new rules giving deceased artists’ estates a share of their work’s resale price, data compiled by a Thomson Reuters unit has shown.

The value of art and cultural objects exported from Britain rose by 32 percent to 1.97 billion pounds in the year to May 2012, according to a statement from Sweet & Maxwell, a legal information provider owned by Thomson Reuters.

On Jan 1, 2012, the Artist’s Resale Rights Directive, which allows artists to claim a percentage of the resale value of their work, was extended to benefit the estates and heirs of artists who have been dead less than 70 years. They became entitled to up to 4 percent of an original piece’s resale price. Rights in Britain previously applied only to living artists.

Exports of modern art, the category most likely to be affected by the new rules, jumped by 105 percent from the previous year to 687 million pounds by May 2012, a quicker rise than the rest of the market.

London and New York have the most multi-millionaires and billionaires respectively in the world, according to a 2012 survey by WealthInsight, a London-based wealth consultancy.

Artist’s Resale Rights were fiercely opposed by the British art market when they were first introduced.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk