Auction house guarantees: Friend or foe?

Auction house and third party guarantees are a hot topic at the moment, with Bloomberg reporting that, for the 2015 New York autumn sales, $1 billion – approximately half – of the $2 billion total value of lots were already sold before the “paddles are even raised” (Bloomberg, 29 October 2015). On 9 September 2015, Sotheby’s filed a Form 8-K with the US Securities and Exchange Commission confirming that they had entered into an arrangement with the Estate of A. Alfred Taubman, their former chairman, to sell art from his collection, which was estimated to be worth in excess of $500 million. The arrangement provided that “Sotheby‚Äôs agreed to provide an auction guarantee for the collection at approximately that level”. Continue reading