The real winners at auction last week? The collectors who managed to hold on to their paintings, resisting the urge to sell during the recession. Despite every economic indicator that hard assets, such as collectibles, were going down in value, first-rate pictures by classic names held up better than expected. However, New York Times auction reporter Carol Vogel wrote that there was no reason to celebrate because the total gross sales were so much lower than those of May 2008 -- partially missing the point. Dollar volume may have been down due to lower prices, fewer lots and a pronounced absence of mega-lots. But the art that did appear sold and found its level, setting a floor for prices to eventually recover.