Price guarantees are common at art auctions

Going, going, not guaranteed

“LADIES AND gentlemen”—the auctioneer scans the room one last time—“the Hockney is sold!” The hammer comes down at $90.3m (including fees). Last month a pool scene by David Hockney, a British painter (pictured), set a new auction record for a work by a living artist. What made it an even bigger splash was that it was sold “naked”: that is, without a minimum price or sale guarantee. It may be one of the last great auction nudes.

Many sellers of fine art are promised a minimum sale price, however the auction turns out. They are unnerved by cautionary flops, like Francis Bacon’s “Study of Red Pope”, which was estimated to fetch £60m-80m ($80m-105m) in 2017, but failed to sell. Guarantees are most useful for post-war and contemporary works, where the value is most speculative. Last month two-thirds of sales at the “evening” auctions—the highest-profile ones—in New York at...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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