Private Treaty Sales: The Fixed Price Advantage

Would you phone your stock broker today and give him an irrevocable instruction to sell your $300,000 worth of shares of Company X “at the market” on May 27, 2009 at 10:35 a.m.? No, I would not think that to be a prudent decision. So why would you deal with the selling of your fine art with any less prudence?

The New York Times of Sunday, November 2, featured in the Arts & Leisure Section an article by Carol Vogel Tapped Out? With Anxiety In The Air The Big Auction Houses Brace for the Fall Sales. For me one of the most notable remarks that she makes reads, “Much of the art up for auction this week and next was secured early in the summer when the world seemed a far different place.” Now she describes the various auctioneers are scrambling about encouraging the consignors to lower their reserves to adapt to the new economic conditions in order that the houses can accomplish the sales. That is a point we have always underscored when attempting to negotiate the purchase of a work of art from a prospective seller. To consign a work of art to be sold four or six months forward at a predetermined date and time represents a formidable risk. You cannot possibly anticipate accurately the strength of the market in which it will be offered. Our opinion has been steadfastly consistent that being that if you can be guaranteed from our gallery or others like ours the highest price you should reasonably expect to receive . . . take it! Don’t hesitate! Don’t be greedy! Now, more than ever the economic climate underscores its wisdom. If you think that the above is only self-serving , please read on;

Let’s get back to Carol Vogel’s article where she writes;

“The major sellers this season are hardly novices: they include savvy collectors like the financier Henry Kravis and his wife, Marie-Josée Kravis, president of the Museum of Modern Art, who are selling Degas’s “Dancer in Repose.” Other sellers include Jennifer Stockman, president of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; and Kathy Fuld, another MoMA trustee and the wife of Richard S. Fuld Jr., the troubled former chief executive of the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers. All of these collectors have been given generous guarantees that some admitted were hard to refuse.”

Look again at the last sentence cited above reading, “All of these collectors have been given generous guarantees that some admitted were hard to refuse.” Among the most savvy collectors in the world, those with the finest works of art to sell do not put themselves in a selling situation in which they incur financial risk. Then, why should you?

If you are managing an Estate, downsizing to a smaller home, or if you are simply inclined to sell to free up some money for other purchases and have precious works of art to sell we invite you to contact us for a confidential consultation.

To potential buyers of fine art, please stay in touch. Our website is presently evolving toward something which we believe is both visually more attractive and informative. The “highlight” feature is a concept we take pleasure in penning. Some among you have definitely found it useful in your purchasing process.

And finally for now, if you have any feedback please do not hesitate to address me a polite note.

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