With their glittery A-list collectors, bidding wars, and unexpected events like artworks shredding right in front of bidders, art auctions draw global attention. However, behind the glitz and drama is a serious business, centuries of history, with practices that consistently set a tone for the art market as a whole. Although auctions are commonly associated with the sale of antiques, rare collectibles, and paintings, they are additionally used in investment banking. When selling a company, investment bankers use auctions to get the best price possible. The procedure begins with inviting multiple bidders to an auction. More potential clients typically lead to additional competitive bidding, raising the worth and permitting the bank to maximize its take advantage of the sale. As a result, they need additional management over purchase costs, most buyers like proprietary sales than auctions.
The artworld is never more global or accessible; best estimates place annual art sales between $60 and $70 billion. While transactions occur in galleries, at art fairs, through advisory services, or online, even seasoned art collectors find auctions, which account for roughly 20% of annual sales, intimidating. It’s an exciting way to get what you want at a market cost. Auctions are open to the public anyone can attend and bid on items. When the hammer falls, the prices of an object have been determined in full view of the world by the people who want the piece. It is critical to do some research before registering to bid, each auction site publishes an online catalog of works several weeks before a sale. Scroll through images and take advantage of the vast amount of information available about prices and work history, other works by the same artist, exhibitions, or more.
Having so much information at your fingertips in real-time can be difficult to determine what is worth purchasing at what cost. As with any other investment, it’s critical to seek the advice of an expert in the field before making a choice. Contact an independent art consultant, who will gladly navigate you through an online catalog, offering detailed information or accompanying you to a presale exhibition. You should stand in front of art since what moves you on screen may not move you the same way in a room, which can subtly change your decision. Art is not a commodity investment; it is an emotionally charged story that begins with its creation and ends with its viewing visceral power.
Auction houses remain the best places to buy art, but you must have a price list guide because bidding competition in the room can be exciting or seductive, that has always been the case. Murillo’s painting, An Immaculate Conception, was auctioned off in London in 1852, both The Louvre and The National Gallery wanted it when the Tsar of Russia’s emissary raised his paddle, a bidding war broke out. The Louvre triumphed, purchasing the work for the then astronomical sum of £24,600, which was the most money ever paid for a work of art in more than a half-century. A desire to acquire a work of art is driven much more by the heart than by the mind or a wallet, with only a few thousand first editions of James Joyce’s Ulysses. As a result, the value of an object made of ink on paper that is “available” in a Penguin paperback is very high. The true worth of this rare object is inspired by the extraordinary power of the novel itself, a work of groundbreaking originality with genius, and its place in the literature field.
Because each work of art is unique, rarity and scarcity are important price drivers in any economic model. Picasso was prolific, but when a specific 1932 Marie Therese portrait becomes available for sale, it is the only one available, increasing the price. There will only be one owner who will wake up and drink their coffee in front of it, experiencing the emotional resonance of the master’s genius. Living with a moving image should be enough to persuade you to purchase a work of art. Scrutinize auction catalogs online, attend presale exhibitions at auction houses, seek advice plus counsel, then do what every great collector did when they started: buy something you love.