Phone Bidding

artnet news has an interesting and fun article about bidding at major auction houses for important works by telephone.The article looks at bidding from the perspective a dealer, a junoir specialist and a writer (which equates closer to a typical collector).  Now many hgih end bidders use or higher seasoned bidders to bid, as well as the auctioneer knows who may be bidding, the process can still be intimidating to many.

At the Potomack Company I am on the #1 phone list, and after doing phone bidding for several years and dozens of handling dozens of bids per sale, it can still get interesting and stressful.

artnet news reports (click through the source link for the full article with comments by the dealer, writier and jr specialist)
Everybody likes to joke that if you're attending a big auction, you should be sure not to accidentally scratch your nose, or else you'll wind up on the hook for a $50-million Picasso.

Of course, that's not how it works. High-level auctions are choreographed spectacles in which the auctioneer knows who's going to bid on the priciest items, where they're sitting, and how high they're willing to go.

What's more, buyers and sellers guard their privacy, and most of the multimillion-dollar bids are placed anonymously. Seeing Larry Gagosian and Eli Broad slug it out on the sales floor is a rare treat.

One of the most important tools to protect buyers' privacy is the humble telephone. Pretty much every record-setting price you've read about at an auction in recent years has come in via an auction house staffer, taking a bid from the buyer—or the buyer's dealer. At Christie's New York's $745-million May 2014 blockbuster, specialist Xin Li was seen talking on three phones at once (see Meet Xin Li, Christie's Secret Weapon for China Sales).

So what is it like to place bids by phone amid a welter of global buyers vying for trophies? We asked three people who have conveyed bids for third parties. One is a New York dealer who once worked as a consultant to a major auction house. One is a former junior specialist at a major London auction house who now lives in New York and works in the art business. The third is a writer in art world circles who was tapped to bid by phone on behalf of a collector (anyone can register to bid by phone; all you need is some form of consent by the collector and approval by the auction house. In most cases, a credit card is all you need). All of them spoke with artnet News on condition of anonymity so as not to alienate the auctioneers.
Source: artnet news

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