Advertisement

Auction house price wars

Christie’s and Sotheby’s are taking chunks out of each other in the art market, waiving fees and entering risky deals to keep the market perky.

Christie's is privately owned by French billionaire Franois Pinault, while Sotheby's is listed in New York. Its filings show that the art market has struggled to match the heady days of 2007, with sales and commissions shrinking. The two firms have previously been caught colluding, but are now going to extreme lengths to win the glitziest pieces.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The "Moet-and-Beluga" auction trade is in a price war, says Businessweek, with companies agreeing to "absurd deals" just to be seen selling a Rothko. In some cases, Sotheby's is returning fees to sellers to keep clients happy, or guaranteeing minimum prices, leaving it on the hook when bidding falls short. Perhaps potential sellers should take advantage while this lasts the art market is notoriously "down and up", as The New York Times notes. One minute it is bemoaning a subdued Impressionist sale, the next celebrating a contemporary sale as "evidence of the market's resilience".

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/517688/the-british-equity-market-is-shrinking
Stockmarkets

The British equity market is shrinking

British startups are abandoning public stockmarkets and turning to deep-pocketed Silicon Valley venture capitalists for their investment needs.
8 Nov 2019
Visit/511212/reasons-for-investors-to-be-bearish-but-stick-with-the-stockmarket-bulls
Stockmarkets

There are lots of reasons to be bearish – but you should stick with the bulls

There are plenty of reasons to be gloomy about the stockmarkets. But the trend remains up, says Dominic Frisby. And you don’t want to bet against the …
17 Jul 2019
Visit/510684/good-news-on-jobs-scares-stockmarkets
Economy

Good news on jobs scares US stockmarkets

June brought the best monthly US jobs growth of the year, but stockmarkets were not best pleased.
11 Jul 2019
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/601611/nasdaq-all-time-high-markets-and-the-real-economy
Stockmarkets

How can markets hit new record highs when the economy is in such a mess?

Despite the world being in the midst of a global pandemic, America's Nasdaq stock index just hit an all-time high. And it's not the only index on a bu…
3 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Visit/investments/property/601606/house-prices-crash-uk-property-prices-falling-where-next
Property

House price crash: UK property prices are falling – so where next?

With UK property prices falling for the first time in eight years, are we about to see a house price crash? John Stepek looks at what’s behind the sli…
2 Jul 2020
Visit/economy/inflation/601584/the-end-of-the-bond-bull-market-and-the-return-of-inflation
Inflation

The end of the bond bull market and the return of inflation

Central bank stimulus, surging post-lockdown demand and the end of the 40-year bond bull market. It all points to inflation, says John Stepek. Here’s …
30 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/601611/nasdaq-all-time-high-markets-and-the-real-economy
Stockmarkets

How can markets hit new record highs when the economy is in such a mess?

Despite the world being in the midst of a global pandemic, America's Nasdaq stock index just hit an all-time high. And it's not the only index on a bu…
3 Jul 2020