DO NOT ACCEPT AUCTION EXPERTS OPINION AS DEFINITE!!

MY EXPERIENCES SAYS, TRUST YOUR OWN OPINION AND INSTINCTS!!

I HAVE HAD MANY DISAPPOINTMENTS AT THE RECEPTIONS OF AUCTION ROOMS BUT MY KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT I OWN AND HOW I GOT IT WAS ALSO MY GUIDE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT THEIR OPINION ON MANY OCCASIONS.

WAS THE EXPERT AT SOTHEBYS RIGHT TO DISMISS ME WITH A VALUABLE PAINTING IN MY HANDS? WAS HE MAKING A DECISION BECAUSE OF OTHER REASONS RATHER THAN FOR WHAT HE HAD IN FRONT OF HIM TO EXPRESS OPINION AND MAKE AN HONEST VALUATION?

WAS THE EXPERT AT CHRISTIES SOUTH KENSINGTON QUALIFIED ENOUGH THE DISMISS THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN WHO OWNED THE TWO PAGE WATERCOLOURS I BOUGHT OFF HIM FOR PEANUTS AT THE COUNTER OF CHRISTIES?

 

Opinion of the Senior Director and expert at Sotheby’s

 

THEODORE RALLI, IT'S WORTH 2-3000 POUNDS! WAS IT??

 

June 1989, London

Consigning any property at auction is extremely worrying and at times traumatic even for the seasoned traders.  Needless to describe how it must feel when it’s only once in a lifetime.  Even though the following is just basic advice, please follow this as much as you can.  When consigning an important painting for sale at a major auction house one needs to know that:

·         It takes about four months from the moment one consigns a work of art with a major auction house till the day of sale.

·         There is another wait of about five weeks to receive the proceeds after the sale.

·         If the item is very important and there is a need for further research by the auction the whole process will take longer than six months.

Such details are very important especially when a seller needs the money urgently, in which case, a smaller, faster selling auction room might be more appropriate. In such a case one needs to know that:

·         Smaller auctions take a shorter time to sell and some sell and pay within one week.

·         The negative side of this route is that smaller auctions might sell for less, as they attract a smaller audience and less affluent buyers.

·         It might also be more expensive to sell with these fast selling auction houses.

·         If there is no urgency to sell, then selling at a reputable auction house is the most rewarding and the one we strongly advise.

The Ralli sat at home for a few months. I enjoyed it, but I could not afford it, in all honesty. The time to take it to the auction was late June, for entry into the November 19th Century European Paintings Sales.  The paintings in those sales ranged from £3000 upwards, so I had no worries about any auction accepting the painting.   

Setting off from home at about 11.00 with my wife and children, I assumed I would be at Sotheby’s London at about 11.45.  I was very hopeful and relaxed about the consignment process. The research was done; I had the latest prices and felt well prepared to defend the painting’s value and possible sale in a top auction.  Nevertheless, one can never be sure about anything until the whole business is over and money is in the bank.

Losing money on the Ralli trade was not on the cards.  I was one million per cent sure it was an ace!  It was a beautiful painting in its heavy contemporary frame and a lot of inborn optimism filled me with confidence, perhaps overconfidence.  My wife, however, never comfortable with my art venture, was anxious and apprehensive knowing I had paid top money for the painting.  Our two boys played happily in the back of the car, while I at the front waited for events to unfold in a positive, happy mood.

Through Hampstead and then Regents Park with no problems I was soon at Sotheby’s in George Street. On arrival I asked for the director of the 19th century paintings department, whom I knew from earlier consignments and purchases. He was actually one of the experts that had a look at the unsigned Constantinople painting I refer to elsewhere. It always helps when you know the people you are dealing with.

 The expert arrived, but he looked as if he was in a hurry. A cold breath of air in mid-summer swept over the consultation room of Sotheby’s.  It seemed I had interrupted his business or upset his social life or something, even though he was at work and supposed to be making money for Sotheby’s, wasn’t he?  Not a good omen.  Polite greetings over and then he was on to the business of examining the painting.

It took the top expert of the 19th century department a few seconds, literally seconds, to look at the Ralli and say quickly, dryly and tersely and I quote, “two to three thousand pounds, I believe.”

“Two to three thousand,” I mumbled, unable to grasp what he was saying.  I felt numb, dazed and confused.  It took me a few seconds to comprehend what he had just uttered.  I could not process the figures and I am good in Maths.  Doubting what I had heard, I asked in disbelief,  “Did you say £2-3000?”

“Yes, that is my opinion.” I was shocked hearing that figure twice. My head began spinning and my balance began to fail me. I was ready to collapse. Somehow, I composed myself and asked shakily, “Why is that?”

“That is my opinion!”

Was this man out to destroy me?  No doubt about that. No mistake - two to three thousand!  Come on man!   React!  Say something!  Defend yourself!  Defend the painting!  Slowly, I was coming back to my senses realizing the seriousness of the situation.  Extremely worried and upset, I finally comprehended that that was no joke and no misunderstanding. I was in deep trouble.

Anger took over me. I was boiling mad. I was beyond control and restraint at this point.  I was furious.

“Why two to three thousand pounds? Explain to me, why?  What was better about the Ralli painting you estimated £6-8000 in one of your sales last year?  Was it the fact that it was 20 x 15cm?  Was it the fact that it was just an unattractive portrait?  I have a popular composition here of 60 x 50 cm and you are telling me £2,000-3,000 estimate?  Do you think I stole the painting or found it lying on a pavement?”  I screamed at him.

“This is my opinion. If you don’t like it, take your painting somewhere else!”

I couldn’t believe my ears! That was not the director of Sotheby’s I knew!  That was no Sotheby’s expert!  That was so unlike him!  What was the problem? Why so rude?  It was unbelievable to me.  In no time he was gone and I was left standing in a cold sweat, fuming with rage.

The director had other important matters to deal with and didn’t care about a client, about his business nor about his employers’ business. That was the first and last time I ever experienced such behaviour and attitude at Sotheby’s. This was 1989, five years after I had first done business with the auction house.  By then, many experts knew me and I knew well how the auction business was conducted.

I had a good idea what was valuable and what was worthless!  How could Mr T and I be wrong at the same time? Virtually impossible! Unsteadily, I walked out of Sotheby’s in a daze. The world had collapsed around me. The top expert of the 19th Century European paintings at Sotheby’s had demolished my dreams and my confidence as a dealer. This was a knockout blow ruining everything. I took it badly, but my wife even more so after I narrated the events to her.

“Why was he so abrupt and so against the painting?” she questioned almost tearfully.

“ I don’t know,” I retorted angrily. “He was in a hurry, he was rude and he wasn’t interested.  The b...!  He destroyed me in there,” I admitted in defeat. 

Yes, your confidence, knowledge and experience can go up in smoke in seconds in the hands of these experts. Watch out!  Twenty-four years on but the scars of that event are still with me. They are as vivid today as they were then. How helpless, how unhappy and downtrodden I felt!  I hated the man!  Perhaps he hated me too. That’s why he was so against the Ralli picture. Down the drains went £10,000.  Down went all my dreams, unless he was wrong and biased for reasons of his own.

Was there a way to save the boat?  Was there another expert who would look at the painting with a more positive eye and view?  Virgin Mary, help me! I crossed myself, I begged and and prayed.  I was lost in my misery and inability to think straight and reasonably. The top man at Sotheby’s had condemned me to bankruptcy with his verdict and at the same time destroyed my thinking processes. I was paralysed, in shock.

 

 

MY FIRST TRADE WAS TWO POUNDS PROFIT

BOUGHT AT CHARITY SHOP, SOLD AT AUCTION 

 

WE ALWAYS RETURN TO OUR ROOTS!!

 

HOW MUCH WAS IT? IT WAS JUST TWO POUNDS PROFIT AND I WAS ELATED. NEVER TRADED BEFORE, NEVER MADE A PROFIT ON ANYTHING BEFORE AND NEVER SOLD AT AUCTION BEFORE.

YES, IT A CANDELABRA I BOUGHT FOR TEN POUNDS, IT SOLD AT A LOCAL AUCTION FOR FOURTEEN POUNDS AND I NETTED TWELVE POUNDS.

YES I WAS OVER THE MOON WITH A TWO POUND PROFIT!!

 

CHARITY SHOPS AND TREASURES!

HAVE YOU DONE THE SAME AT SOME POINT? I AM SURE A LOT OF US HAVE DONE BUT ARE A LITTLE EMBARRASSED TO ADMIT IT. CHARITY SHOPS ARE SPREADING LIKE MUSHROOMS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND THERE IS NO HIGH ROAD NOW THAT HAS NOT GOT ONE OR TWO OR MORE. THEY ARE BUSINESSES AND I REGRET THAT. I LOOK AT THE WINDOWS FROM TIME TO TIME AND I BUY SMALL ITEMS WHEN THERE IS SOMETHING THAT I FIND INTERESTING AND OTHERS DONATED.

I DONATE PLENTY MYSELF AND THUS HELPING OTHERS AND BEING HELPED SOMEHOW IS A GOOD WAY TO SHOW THAT YOU CARE FOR OTHERS AND ARE PART OF A SOCIETY THAT CARES FOR THE WEAK.

WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

 

VICTORIAN ART WAS THROWN IN THE BINS IN 1960 AND 1970S

 

YES, IT WAS THROWN AWAY AS USELESS AND UNDESIRABLE.THEN, THE 1980S CAME AS WELL AS THE 1990S AND THE ART OF THE VICTORIANS FOUND A NEW LEASE OF LIFE, HIGH PRICES AND SOME VERY HIGH PRICES AMONG THE PRE-RAFAELITE ARTISTS.

TODAY, VICTORIAN ART IS ONCE AGAIN IN DECLINE AND NOBODY WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT IT. IS IT TIME TO START COLLECTING GOOD VICTORIAN ART AT LOW PRICES. WHAT IF THE ART OF THE VICTORIANS RETURN TO FASHION ONCE AGAIN?

I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT THE COUPLE OF PAINTINGS I HAVE AS THEY COST ME VERY LITTLE. ON THE CONTRARY, I BUY THE SMALL PIECE HERE AND THERE, IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT AND I CAN AFFORD IT. MY FIRST SERIOUS PROFIT FROM A PAINTING BACK IN THE 1980S. IT WAS FROM A STILL LIFE OF SUPER QUALITY BY GEORGE CLARE. DOUBLING AN INVESTMENT OF TWO THOUSAND POUNDS IN 1984-85 WAS IMMENSE.

YESTERDAY, I BOUGHT A SMALL MARINE PAINTING FROM A CHARITY SHOP IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD FOR ONLY 30.00 POUNDS. ART OF 1890-1900, ART THAT IS OF QUALITY AND I PAID THIRTY POUNDS. AM I ALONE OR AM I MAD IN THINKING THAT ART IS LIBERATING, ART IS A GOOD INVESTMENT AND ONE SHOULD INVEST ON THE DOWN AND DOWN?

 

THIS IS MY ADVICE TO ALL READERS TODAY!! INVEST IN VICTORIAN ART

BUT SPEND ONLY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD!!

 

PETER CONSTANT

THE BEGINNING OF ANY BUSINESS!!

NOT EASY BUT ALSO EXTREMELY REWARDING!!

 

IT was nearly forty years ago I started the art adventure that brought me great happiness and a life full of interesting adventures, encounters and an art collection of some merit. This is how it all began and developed in two pages! 

 

 

The story of the amateur investor began for real in London in October1983, but the seeds were sown years earlier in Athens, Greece. Narrating this incredibly amazing story of stories, I must declare my gratitude to Lady Luck from the very beginning! I am a lucky person to be alive having survived illness at an early age, airplane scares, emergency landings and the battlefield of war; a lucky person who entered the world of art a complete ignoramus, penniless and on a wing and a prayer. 

Everything became possible with luck and hard work, without which it would have been impossible to break into the serious art market the way I did. Luck, hard work and accumulated knowledge enabled me to make investments which returned significant sums regardless of whether I invested from home or in the auction room in countries as far apart as the UK, the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Australia and the Far East.

Art has never stopped evolving from time immemorial, never stopped impressing itself upon the human race in a very deep, subsconscious way. Art has always attracted us like a magnet and has represented Man through the ages to today. How could I escape such a pull? I visited art exhibitions as a young student, I admired paintings in major museums and I loved the whole ambiance of art. In all those early, formative years of my life and until I got married, I never managed to buy a single work of art. It was a struggle to survive, a constant battle to lay the basic foundations for the future, let alone spend money on a painting.

Something inside me clicked as early as 1967 when in the company of an artist friend. He kindly painted for me two small ceramic paintings, the first I ever owned, and I regret I no longer have them. It was years later that I invested in my first painting together with my wife in 1979.  It was auspicious, but there was no way to even suspect that, a few years later, I would be involved in art in such a professional manner and with so much at stake.

Calling myself a collector and investor of art today, from an absolute novice in 1983, took many twists and turns that I was never prepared for nor anticipated. Nevertheless, I always faced strokes of luck and unlucky turns stoically and decidedly. I took successes with great satisfaction and failures as part and parcel of the process of becoming a better investor. I made do with no money in the beginning and persevered in adversity and hard times. Even when the worst financial situations affected the business and the world, I carried on, changed tactics and direction and survived.

Starting with 19th century fine art in 1984-85 and trading at auctions all over England and the United States, I learned the basics of buying and selling art at auctions and acquired invaluable knowledge of how they operate.  I became qualified enough to face the auction experts, with their individual agendas and their strengths and weaknesses, on a level footing. Soon enough I moved on to contemporary and impressionist art, which rewarded me handsomely. Being well informed enabled me to invest in top names before others scented the prey. Observing very closely how the markets performed eventually led me to Russian and Greek art, when many others were oblivious of the possibilities and rewards in those two emerging markets.

Being highly motivated and determined to learn a new trade I devoted myself to the art world and unconsciously fell in love with it. I learned the business of trading and collecting art the hard way and the expensive way. There was nobody to give me a piece of advice, nobody to warn me of the traps of the trade, the dangers of the trade. I gradually became a competent trader/investor, via this unorthodox, expensive route. With a hard-working ethos on my part and the essential investments I made in myself, in catalogues, magazines, indexes, art literature, computers and finally the Internet, I gradually completed the journey from a complete beginner and amateur to a skilled art investor. I utilized successfully all the experience acquired over time, and in spite of the upheavals of the last thirty years, I am still standing and trading successfully. To add spice to my trading activities, I also managed to earn introductory commissions from the two major auction houses of London, Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

I had my first lucky break at the top auction house in the world, Sotheby’s, in 1984, where experts and seasoned dealers failed to identify the bargain that enabled me to step onto the ladder of high priced investments. It was possible to buy bargains repeatedly at major and minor auctions over the years and expand the business from a ten-pound note in October 1983 to hundreds of thousands of pounds today.

In spite of the many successes, I also faced serious financial problems, which I had brought upon myself in the process of trading. I made serious mistakes with some bad investments and simply lost my way at times, although never direction and ultimate target! I became an addicted art collector.  I consider art to be a great vehicle for accumulating wealth and a lot more fulfilling than stocks, shares, gold or property.  Throughout the thirty years of this art venture I was still employed as a teacher and the two jobs co-existed with no issues. Teaching supported art and art supported an art lover to fulfil his dreams and passion.

Some exceptionally high rewards over the years took place and returns of 500% and 1000% occurred on many investments. Some gambles were taken, but it was mostly knowledge and experience that tipped the balance to tremendous successes.  Luck, as I have already affirmed, also proved pivotal in everything I traded.  I attribute to Lady Luck the biggest successes I ever had, but I moved my little finger too.

The economic conditions in the world have always been uncertain and constantly changing for all of us. Being involved in art, knowing in depth another trade while working as a teacher and making money from home was satisfying and lucrative for me.  I would imagine many people would love to imitate that. Through the stories of this book I provide the knowledge, the tools, the Alpha to Omega of trading in art to enable them to do so.  Make a note of these tools and advice, and perhaps this is the story you have been waiting for to spur you on and get you started in fine art trading as a challenging profession or recreation. I started at point zero. I did it with no knowledge and little money. I did it with hard work, luck and love for art.  It is possible for you to do the same and much more easily today in the comfort of your office or home with the Internet and all the other aids I refer to.  This book will hopefully be your ultimate tool and companion.

 

Art is a multi-billion dollar business ever expanding and ever attracting new investors and collectors worldwide. You might think it is impossible to break into this world, as I thought in the early eighties. Yet, the impossible happened, the unimaginable took place, and a penniless ignoramus in 1983 achieved a dream of dreams.

 

PRPEARING EXHIBITIONS AND ATTENDING THEM!!

MARINE EXHIBITION READY TO VIEW AND ADMIRE!!

 

YIANNIS PAPANELOPOULOS  YACHT RACING ROUND 

WE HAVE A CLEAR VIEW OF WHAT ART SHOULD SERVE AND ATTEMPT TO DO ON THIS SITE.

PROMOTE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY TO ALL THE PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE!!

WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THE PREPARATIONS OF THE UPCOMING MARINE EXHIBITION OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS ALONGSIDE SO MANY OTHER PROJECTS. AT THE HEART OF THIS OUTFIT IS TO SERVE ART AND THROUGH ART TO PROMOTE THE HIGHEST IDEALS OF HUMANITY WHICH WITH NO SHADOW OF A DOUBT ARE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY WITH NO SHADES OF THEM AS THEY ARE UNFORTUNATELY PREVAILING ON THE PLANET TODAY.

THE MARINE EXHIBITION TOUCHES FREEDOM IN CYPRUS WHERE PART OF THE ISLAND IS OCCUPIED AND CONSTANTLY FURTHER COLONISED BY TURKEY WITH NEW ARRIVALS OF SETTLERS FROM TURKEY IN CYPRUS. KYRENIA HARBOUR AS IT WAS PRE-1974 IS NO MORE GREEK BUT TURKISH AND BY THAT I MEAN TURKISH, TURKISH.

I VISITED THE CITY RECENTLY AND I KNOW IT FIRST HAND. I WAS IN TURKEY FOR SURE, NOT IN CYPRUS. I KNOW WHO THE CYPRIOT IS GREEK OR TURK AND I KNOW WHO  ATURK FROM TURKEY IS AND ESPECIALLY THE ONES FROM ANATOLIA.

THE CATALOGUE OF THE EXHIBITION IS READY FOR ALL TO ENJOY NOW AND OF COURSE IT WOULD BE GREAT TO SEE AS MANY ART LOVERS AS POSSIBLE VISITING THE EXHIBITION IN LANDON AT THE GREEK BROTHERHOOD CENTRE IN NORTH LONDON.

PETER CONSTANT

ALL ON GREEK ART AND DANGER BELLS WERE RINGING LOUDLY!!

AN UNBALANCED PORTOFOLIO OF ANYTHING IS ALSO VERY

DANGEROUS!!

I WENT MAD WITH GREEK ART AND ALL OF A SUDDEN I WAS SO HEAVILY

INVESTED IN THIS SECTION OF THE MARKET THAT SCARED ME. YET, THE

MARKET WAS STRONG AND PROMISING MORE AND MORE!!

 

Apostolos Geralis

(Greek, [1886-1983], Very successful figurative painter of peasant Greek women and men in their domestic chores. Auction price range £1500- 25,000)

16th December 2003, IEGOR Quebec, Canada - 10th May 2004, Sotheby’s London

How did I miss that paintings auction? My, my! It was supposed to be Christmas in a few days’ time, but for myself that was the time to hunt for a bargain, if there was one in Canada. Most people were getting into a festive mood, but I was still at work and looking for investment opportunities all done from home and all enjoyable. No time to waste. The sale was in twenty-four hours and I had just a few hours that Saturday to arrange bidding, if anything was of interest. The time in Montreal was about four in the afternoon.

One after the other the paintings were not for me. I was not disappointed, but then there had to be a Greek painting and a bargain somewhere. I felt it. I expected it. How was that?  Instinct? Hope? Stupid expectation? Who knows what it was! 

There! Once again, there was Geralis, this time the better-valued younger brother of Lucas, Apostolos Geralis!  What a lovely painting of a peasant Greek woman at 3000 Canadian dollars, or about £1500.  I liked the painting and loved the price.  I estimated the painting to be worth well over £3000.   I had to buy. That was my chance to buy a beautiful Apostolos Geralis and I was not going to miss it. First time once again! Excitement, thrill, wild thoughts of profits and riches! Greedy guts!

The arrangement to bid on the phone was set in motion immediately. No need to waste time, no research needed, no prices to be checked. I had everything in the memory bank.

Great expectations just before Christmas!  Another bargain purchase, an unexpected Christmas present from Canada! Another bout of anxiety, worry and suspense!  Was that my first purchase? Rather my thousandth one, but it felt like the first. Could I purchase another good Greek painting in the next twenty-four hours? Was I the only investor in Greek art? It was unbelievable. Either the whole world was asleep or I was daydreaming.  Was I the only one digging for treasure or was I perhaps digging a financial grave by investing 80% of my money in Greek art?  Which one was it? I was pretty sure at the time that it was treasure. I was one hundred percent sure of the rewards of investing in Greek art, but was I too full of myself and bullish? 

Sunday night arrived so quickly that I had no time to worry or fret about bidding any more.  Having splashed £25,000 on other purchases in October and November there was very little left to bid on the Geralis.  Nevertheless, I hoped that not too many people had seen the painting and that the reserve would be the winning bid.  The call from IEGOR could not have come earlier.

“Mr Constant,” the voice over the Atlantic, as clear as a bell, “two lots to the Geralis.”

Immediately the bidding started, I knew I was the only bidder and that the Geralis was mine. At £1500 the beautiful Apostolos Geralis was indeed a Christmas present from Canada. By the end of December the painting was hanging up on the wall at home and I was enjoying the art of an artist I had dreamed of buying for years.  A peasant Greek lady busy with the chores of the house filled me with pride and joy.  I deliberately stared and stared at the painting in admiration. I knew I had to cash it in soon and therefore I had to make the most of it while I could.  It was a short-term investment, a moneymaking exercise, which hopefully would work in my favour and assist me in my plans for the Olympics. 

 

Never put all your eggs in one basket!  Too risky!

I was at that moment close to penniless because in addition to the Geralis investments I had also bought in Athens and Paris other Greek paintings by artists such as Xenos, Doukas, Kanas, Romanides, Sklavos and Prasinos totalling about £20,000.  This did not include the additional payments I had to make to contemporary artists!  I had gone mad!

Overnight and within 2003 the portfolio had become unbalanced and heavy on Greek art investments.  That was a significant move and investment in one direction.  I was at risk of ruining the work of the past twenty years by investing nearly 90% of my money on Greek art!  Very dangerous! I could hear the bells of danger ringing in the distance, but I was also sure that Greek art was heading towards much higher and better pastures. The fine edge between success and failure needed a good pilot and I was under the microscope.

My addiction was close to sickness; to me however it was joy and happiness translated into love for art and love for my country’s art.  But the flesh-biting question was always there.  Was it love for art or was it love for money?  I have always wondered and asked myself this one million-dollar question. Which came first?  Nevertheless, whenever I invested in something it was because I liked it first, and that was the reason I stretched my finances to breaking point all the time. 

I was rich in assets, but cash strapped! Isn’t that the case with all big business people, I kept wondering! Slow, dreamer!  Slow!

The sale of all recent acquisitions had already been planned for Sotheby’s Greek sale in London in May 2004, just three months before the Athens Olympics.  I felt it was the right time to sell, not only because I desperately needed the funds, but also because I believed the Greek art market would climb even higher that year because of the Olympics. That was the event I was banking on. 

The May sale was to be my biggest auction sale in numbers ever. I had made the investments, and in doing so I had put nearly all of my eggs in one basket.  If I read the market wrongly, I would have serious financial problems. I would be under a mountain of debt once again with a stock of several hundred paintings, mainly Greek, threatening everything I had built over the past twenty years.

I needed to sell, I had to cash in the investments in order to recover my money and hopefully make some profit.  There was no Exter to fall back on any more.  No other artist I owned could sell for sixty thousand pounds from the sale of just one painting, nobody, although I had collected hundreds of smaller value paintings, which I hoped would give me a breather whenever I needed a good sum of money.

 

Desperate to cash in some of my investments

The car was loaded with a dozen paintings plus the Sklavos sculpture. Even though there were no major pieces amongst them, quality art and artists were involved. I was not too concerned about estimates and the opinion of the experts.  I was certain that my consignment was what they were looking for and that they would accept my property with open arms.  All I needed were reasonable estimates and normal business terms.

The two experts of Sotheby’s were anxiously expecting my consignment.  It was a significant part of their May sale. They arrived together as soon as arrived at the reception on George Street.  Happy faces, happy remarks and down to business.  There was no hustle, no arguments and no aggravation – everything as smooth as silk.  I was an important seller with the goods to attract both major and casual buyers. They had to take into serious consideration my needs, as Sotheby’s wanted a second Greek annual sale.

I consigned thirteen items for the sale, which I listed clearly together with all my requirements.  By providing the experts with a list, I had made a statement of needs, forced the issue of reserves and gave them no chance to reject anything I planned for sale.  Consigning such a large number of paintings enabled me to demand the best terms and also enabled the experts to afford me the best terms as a trader.  In a sale of 172 lots, I owned thirteen lots, in other words, about 8% of the sale. 

The experts were impressed by nearly all the consignment, but they particularly liked the Xenos painting of Vouliagmeni, the large Zenetzis canvas of Monastiraki with Acropolis Beyond and the Sklavos sculpture.  Encouraging comments for most of the significant art, but how would my splash on Greek art fare in the test arena of auction on 10th May 2004?  Would I recover the total investment cost of £19,000 and make a 50% profit too?