Georgina Adam gives out the insider’s knowledge on how auctions work in the FT:
The art market is often described as the last unregulated financial market in the world. It has remained stubbornly resistant to almost all efforts to bring transparency to its operations, which still mainly function on the basis of highly personal relations and often secretive transactions. The problem is that these transactions can today be worth tens of millions, and that art was – at least until the recent global financial crisis – increasingly touted as a “safe” alternative asset class and was even put into investment funds.
Secrets of the Auction Room (Financial Times)