How auction houses bag a Koons

January 21 2014

Image of How auction houses bag a Koons

Picture: NYT/Getty

There's an interesting article in the New York Times about how little auctioneers make when selling big ticket items like Koons' Orange Dog:

[...] the owner of the work, the newsprint magnate Peter M. Brant, said Christie’s certainly made no money from him. To secure his business, the house waived the seller’s commission, he said, and then, as a sweetener, gave him a large share of the buyer’s fees.

“I was not required to give them anything from the buyer’s commission until it reached a certain price — which it did not make,” Mr. Brant said in an interview, rather wistfully, since he was hoping for a higher price.

Factor in Christie’s other costs — buying insurance and newspaper ads, publishing glossy catalogs, moving the towering Balloon Dog to its Rockefeller Center headquarters, where it was parked outside for gawking — and the possibility of making lots of money seems to be limited.

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