This report on Sotheby's "I Have to Stay Home" sale by Colin Gleadell is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
Short sales have become commonplace in lockdown—presumably catering to dealers or speculators needing quick turnover and liquidity. Since early April, Sotheby’s has staged 12 art sales with 66 or fewer lots; 8 have had fewer than 40 lots, with Hong Kong devising catchy titles like “Summer Love,” “Cheer Up,” or “Another World” to market the unending supply of works by Murakami, KAWS, and Asia’s latest favorite from the UK—Mr Doodle. The best performer of these, though, was “I Have to Stay at Home,” organized from London with just 32 lots.
In fact, after 12 lots were withdrawn, it ended up with just 20. Another feature of lockdown online auctions has been the volume of lots withdrawn at the last minute. This is a damage-control exercise for consignors who fear that a lot recorded unsold could be “burned.” Online withdrawals do not, as far as I can see, generally get recorded as such. They certainly disappear from the auction house websites.
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