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Episode Info:

This month, we are updating and rereleasing one of our most popular episodes, Art of the Chase: Inside Art Auctions.  In this episode, we take a close look at art auctions – how they work, their place in the art market and the rules and regulations that confine/define them.  Auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s now regularly net tens and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars for a single work.  Christie’s sold Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting for $450 million in 2017, still, by far, the highest price ever garnered by a piece of art at auction.  At the same time, much about the auction process remains secret.  The identity of the buyer and seller is often known only to the auction house, and the reserve price (below which an artwork will not be sold) is known by the auctioneer but not the bidders.  While the auctioneer may not sell a work of art below its reserve price, it can bid on the work below the reserve to get the auction going.  Steve and Katie discuss these issues and others having to do with regulation, transparency and potential conflicts, and welcome famous Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker to take us behind the scenes of a big auction.

Resources:

http://www.sothebys.com/en/specialists/oliver-barker/bio.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/arts/design/as-art-market-rise-so-do-questions-of-oversight.html

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/about/auctioneer_law_rules.pdf

https://www.princeton.edu/ceps/workingpapers/203ashenfelter.pdf

https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/place_your_bids

http://blogs.cornell.edu/info2040/2015/10/15/auction-psychology-emotions-behind-bidding/

https://mindhacks.com/2012/09/19/bbc-column-auction-psychology/

https://www.thecut.com/2016/12/inside-the-mind-of-a-million-dollar-art-bidder.html

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