Guffwatch - charity edition (ctd.)

February 18 2015

Video: Darren Bader

Last week, Christie's became the first auctioneer in history to sell money. I don't mean old bank notes or coins, but straightforward, bank transferable money. The money - £10,211 - was packaged as a work of contemporary art by the artist Darren Bader, and came with a 'certificate of authenticity'. 

So far so silly, you may think. But this money was a charitable donation. The £10,211 was made up of pledges raised by the fundraising website indiegogo, and 'the buyer' therefore made the final donation. You can see Bader's video explaning the whole thing above. 

Is this art? Well, these days anything counts, so yes. Is it good art? You decide. But is it a good way of raising money for charity? Probably not. The aim was to raise over £300,000, so not many people were persuaded by the idea. Indiegogo's cut of the amount raised was 9%, Paypal's 3%, and we are not told in Christie's catalogue that the auction house had agreed to waive its usual commissions, so I guess we can deduct their usual 12% too. The 'buyer' also had to pay a buyer's premium of £2,300.

Update - a reader runs the numbers:

If the amount raised by donors was GBP10,211 and the auction sale price was GBP12,500, after the total deductions you mention of about 24% the net amount realized would be less than the amount of the donations; a very uneconomic way of raising money for charity.

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