The Toronto Globe and Mail buries the most important piece of information about collapsed Canadian auctioneer, Ritchies, at the bottom of their story. If you’ve been following along, Ritchies has a marketing partnership with Sotheby’s. They held an auction in May that disappointed and the house seemed to fall apart as a result. When Sotheby’s heard that consignors were not getting paid–a serious lapse at an auction house–they severed their ties with Ritchies causing the company to implode:
The auction in question comprised 141 lots of Canadian art, including works by various Group of Seven artists as well as Emily Carr, Alex Colville and Jean-Paul Riopelle. The lots were expected to sell for between $4-million and $5.5-million, not including the buyer’s premium, but grossed just $3.5-million, including the premium.
Sotheby’s also said in the statement “we are voluntarily ensuring that all payments due with respect to that sale will be honoured.” Two sources told The Globe and Mail that Sotheby’s has paid all the consignors for their paintings, though a New York-based spokeswoman for Sotheby’s would neither confirm nor deny the payments, nor whether there are outstanding debts between the two auctioneers.
The story describes consignors waiting in the parking lot for someone to talk to about the return of their items or payment.