That Tom Thomson painting that suddenly appeared in Western Canada after spending nearly a century in the possession of one family didn’t live up to the auction house’s expectations but it did deliver yet another surprise. The buyer was was a tyro collector:
Tom Budd, who said he only bought his first art book three weeks ago, paid $350,000 for Untitled, Dawn on Round Lake at the Nickle Arts Museum in Calgary on Sunday — much less than Levis Fine Art Auctions’ pre-sale estimate. [ . . . ] when auctioneer Doug Levis opened bidding at $600,000 on Sunday, he had no offers. Levis eventually dropped his opening price to $350,000, with Budd the only prospective buyer willing to make an offer. However, the move was controversial.
“It was an issue that we had a minimum price, a reserve price [of $400,000],” Levis told CBC News.
Budd’s bid was initially rejected, but after a private meeting and some negotiation, the unnamed seller agreed to Budd’s price. The final price was $409,500 with the auction house premium.