ARTISTS NOT RECOGNISED BY THE AUCTIONEERS!!!
PAINTING BY LEON KALOGEROPOULOS
I WALKED THOUSANDS OF TIMES INTO AUCTION ROOMS AND REVIEWED AUCTION CATALOGUES. HERE IS A CASE WHERE I KNEW MORE THAN THE AUCTIONEERS, I TOOK THE INITIATIVE AND BID WAY ABOVE THE AUCTION’S ESTIMATE.
(British, [1842-1927] A very respected marine artist who painted South American views especially of Valparaiso. Auction price range 3,000 – 50,000)
“Lot… marine composition”, announced the auctioneer. No names, no attributions! Great! They still have no idea that the painting is a Somerscales. Mum is the word in any business, but more so in art!
“Three hundred I have,” called the auctioneer.
Three hands went up and I stayed out of it, quiet and cool until the price reached £800. A bidding war was on. My hand went up, and it was between me and one other bidder who pushed the price to £1,250. With money behind me I felt confident and on top of things, but I was not prepared to pay over £1,600 plus the 10% buyer’s commission and VAT. I had made my wages for the week already, and I was happy with that. Being greedy had proved disastrous in the past. Being careful with my purchases led to better investments.
“I have £1,250,” continued the auctioneer expectantly.
I raised my hand once more at which point the other bidder retired looking away disappointed. It was a very good buy at £1,420 including commissions and VAT, and worth at least double the amount I had paid. It was clear now that others had recognized the painting and had pushed the price up, but it was still worth it. It was mathematics, wasn’t it?
With spirits high, I took the return trip to London in a happy mood. Life was good, luck was on my side and the new business I had started six years earlier was returning me respectable profit margins. In addition, I was buying for my collection and recreation whenever the opportunity arose and the finance was available.
The time of the Internet had not arrived yet and so few people knew that I had bought that Somerscales painting only a few months earlier in the country. That included Sotheby’s experts who happily accepted the painting for their Marine Paintings Sale of May 1990.
Could I buy a few more paintings like that? Time and again I had proved to myself that I was right and more or less accurate in estimating the value of paintings I invested in. Valuing art had become easier over time with experience and knowledge. The year 1989 ended in a very positive manner, with plenty in the bank and the hope and belief that 1990 would be as good if not better.
KNOWLEDGE IS MONEY!!