Tuesday, 9 July 2019

A killing


I was sent to a London auction house once, to buy these. Four cast copies of 'Terms' or 'Herms' in the classical style. The were described as 'reconstituted stone', which is auctioneer-speak for concrete.

They were quite large - about six feet tall. The estimate was £12,000 - £14,000 which I thought was about £7,000 more than I thought they were worth. Nevertheless I had a maximum budget of £40,000, which was about £33,000 more than I thought they were worth.

Within a few seconds, I had bid them up to £40,000 and I was out. You have to make quick mental calculations during fast auctions. The bids rise incrementally and it would be very easy to go over your client's maximum by several thousand pounds if you did not allow for the incremental rises.

I need not have worried about that however, as they eventually sold for over £90,000. With premiums etc, this means that someone paid over £100,000 for a set of modern concrete copies.

In under a minute, someone else made a killing. I later found out who that someone was and the scale of the killing. I could live very well on one sale like that every couple of years.

14 comments:

  1. Some people have more money than common sense. What a shame.

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    1. I don't begrudge any rich person for an uncontrollable passion. Without that, we would not have places like Florence.

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    2. And I would not have a job...

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  2. Top quality concrete; like wot Mum makes.

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  3. I often watch auctions at our local Tennants - a very superior auction house. The bidding when it is the really 'good' sales, where the final killing made by the auction house often amounts to millions, goes to fast and furious it would be easy to get carried away.

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    1. Auctions are like war - loads of hanging about getting bored, then a little interlude of frantic activity and adrenalin rush. At least it wasn't my money.

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  4. I rather like them, apart from the acanthus leaf, jutting out in a rather rude position ! I’ve bought a few things at auction but never reached those dizzy heights. XXXX

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    1. You don't like the suggestive acanthus? Are you ok Jack@?

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    2. I must have had a funny moment ..... normal service has been resumed ! XXXX

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  5. They've got slightly different heads?

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  6. What level of skill is needed to make these ? Could it easily be replicated ? Are people paying because they do not know about the material or are middle men buying for a client who does not consider the cost ? I'm curious .

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    1. I don't understand your first question. The level of skill needed to make them is evident enough I think. I think it is possible that the buyer did not realise they were cast from moulds of the original, because he or she did not read the description well enough. No matter how wealthy you are, you always consider the cost. These things got involved in a bidding war I think.

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