Colin Gleadell reads the fine print in the auction catalogues and discovers this very interesting detail:
Virtually nothing has been guaranteed because there is no guaranteeing what anything is worth. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the sales is in the small print. On May 13 at Sotheby’s lower-value day sale of contemporary art, 42 lots with a combined low estimate of $2.8 million (£1.9 million), have been offered without reserve. The reserve is the minimum price that a seller agrees to accept when offering a work at auction. But, in these cases, the seller has agreed to accept whatever is offered, regardless of the estimate. Among the “no reserve” lots are works by Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Cy Twombly, Damien Hirst and Banksy. The Banksy, estimated at $150,000 to $200,000, is a scene of wailing women kneeling by a sign that reads, appropriately, “No Sale Today”. Also up for grabs is a Hirst butterfly painting, I Need Love (est $120,000 to $180,000), and a small coloured dot painting, N-T Boc-L-Alanine N-Hydro Ester (est $20,000 to $30,000). The results could be an eye-opener.
Without a reserve, the works will be sold at whatever price the market will bear–as opposed to the price a seller is willing to accept–something that rarely happens in the art market.
Market News (Telegraph)