Georgina Adam shines a spotlight on the launch of a new middle-market online auction operation coming out of London. Although the deflationary pressures gnawing away at the world economy have been impacting the middle market more than any other aspect of the art world, Bailey & co may just have found an overlooked opportunity:
Sotheby’s London-based business development honcho George Bailey, who has been with the auction house for 34 years, has now started his own firm. He has launched an online auction room for the middle market, specialising in works of art that slip under the “minimum value” criteria of the big houses. Starting in June, www.theauctionroom.com will hold sales of jewellery, watches, silver, ceramics and paintings, and is also trying out Middle Eastern contemporary art.
“My partner Lucinda Blythe and our team of specialists will catalogue and photograph the pieces, put them online two weeks before the sale, and there will be a physical preview two days before the session,” says Bailey. During the online sale itself each piece will be up for grabs for just 40 seconds, but each time a bid is received, the time is extended for another 10 seconds for other bidders to come in – just as in a physical auction. Commissions are attractive: 17.5 per cent for the buyer, 7.5 per cent for the vendor.
The Art Market: High Stakes Business (Financial Times)