Issue #159  4/1/2009
Auction Market For High-End Contemporary Photography Crashes: Andreas Gursky's 99-Cent Dyptich Now Only Worth 98-Cents; Auction Houses Raise Premium Fees to 100%

By Cal O'Type

In a stunning reversal from contemporary auctions just a year ago, Sotheby's and Christie's latest contemporary art sales found virtually--and, since that's the only way people are bidding today in auction--NO buyers for their overpriced (urgh!...overreaching...aaargh!...misestimated) art golden calves (or at least calf hoofs) in their latest auction season.

With sales only climbing to a whopping 1% of the lots offered, Sotheby's and Christie's quickly came up with the same identical plan on the same day (but, of course, there was absolutely no collusion on anyone's part): 100% buyer's premiums and 100% seller's fees (plus even higher illustration fees, insurance fees, buy-in fees, etc.). This effectively doubles nothing, but it didn't stop the two companies from touting their newest idea for profitability to the press.

In a nearly joint press release, but of course not joint at all, the two companies simultaneously explained that by charging 100% of both fees they will make sure that no one will ever make any profit except themselves. Of course, that will only happen whenever there is a profit. Sotheby's stock soared by a full penny to 31 cents on the news.