Auctioneers Matter and Do a Great Job Too!!


The Auctioneers Make or Break a Painting!!

How do auctioneers affect sales and manage sales of art?

How do they catalogue and estimate?

How is the auction room affected by the auctioneer and his conducting the auction sale?

Eugene Montezin, Sold at Christies New York in 1987 for 24,000 dollars


The Montezin painting was sent to New York for sale in March 1986. It was offered for sale by Sothebys in New York and failed to sell. There were many reasons for this event but primarily because the auction house was experimenting with a new sale and had NO time for my property.

However, when I approached Christies in New York to offer it for sale, they not only promised a better sale but also researched the painting and managed to get the agreement of the aertrist’s son to include it in the resonnai of his father. Furthermore, their cataloguing and illustration in the catalogue assist it in selling five times as much as when it failed to sell at Sothebys.

Skill, Reputation and Persuasive Personalities!

John Marion was the top auctioneer at Sothebys in New York. When I offered for sale the Hans Hofmann painting in 1986, the reserve was 30,000 dollars. He manage 27,000 from a bidder but he could not sell the piece unless he had a 30,000 bid. He went round the packed room three times. He looked and begged for another bid and ….

I stood at the back of the room frozen and scared to death. I crossed myself, I prayed to God for help….

finally he came back to the only interested bidder in the painting and took the bid out of him with a golden glove. That is what a great auctioneer does and makes the bidder do.

Hans Hofmann

The auctioneers are some times the experts in an area of art too. I narrate in my book Rags or Riches, pages 157 – 189 the events that led to the sale of the Theodore Ralli painting below, at Christies London.

Theodore Ralli

How do two auctioneers have an expert opinion of the same painting that either destroys you financially or saves you and makes your life a garden of Eden. This is what happened to me when my friend auctioneer, I am grateful to him for ever, said: “Peter, I like this painting. It will do well”

On the day of the auction he stood a rock for the painting that he finally knocked down at 22,000 pounds. It was such a shout of happiness, when he met me after the auction to say thank you for offering the painting through Christies but it was I who thanked him and felt the pleasure of his skills and auctioning ability.

The stories are not over and next week, I will narrate how auctions can also affect your business, your pocket and confidence negatively too!

Peter Constant

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