BUYING THE DYF WAS EASY BUT SELLING IT???
WILL THIS PAINTING BY ZENETZIS PROVED TO BE A GOOD INVESTMENT IN THE YEARS TO COME??
AUCTIONS SERVE THE ART BUSINESS WELL!!
WHEN SELLING ANYTHING OF ANY VALUE IT IS ALWAYS AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER. I HAD A GOOD PAINTING IN MY HANDS, I WAS CONFIDENT IT WOULD SELL WELL AND HOPED FOR A 50-100% PROFIT WITHIN TWO MONTHS.
I WOULD HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY HAPPY WITH THAT. UNFORTUNATELY, I COULD NOT WAIT TO SELL THE PAINTING BY DYF BECAUSE I WAS SKINNED ONCE AGAIN. ALWAYS SKINNED, ALWAYS CURSED TO OVER INVEST IN THE BUSINESS AND RETURN THE MONEY QUICKLY TO RE-INVEST!!
A bidding war on Dyf or a damp squib?
8th September 1988, Gorringes Lewes Setting off early that Friday morning I drove to Gorringes in Lewes East Sussex, England for the sale of the Dyf. I needed to witness the sale personally and see whether my forecasts about the painting’s worth were correct or not. One can never be sure with the art market. It is as predictable as English weather in the summer – magnificent or horrible. There was no way of knowing who would be interested in the painting, but Stacy-Marks were candidates as they were frequent buyers at their best local auction, and I hoped many other parties might show interest and help to a good sale. Even better, I prayed for a bidding war as I had never witnessed one yet for a property of mine and I was dying to see one taking flesh and bones. Dream, boy, dream!
The room was packed. I could see a couple of familiar faces, but nobody I knew particularly as a Dyf buyer. The auction was going well, the bidding was brisk but nothing spectacular yet. I was nervous about the sale and began to question whether I had made the right choice to sell at Gorringes. Uncertainty is an unfriendly companion to any business and more so to auctions of art. Unless you have experienced this already, it becomes impossible to imagine how mixed and draining emotions are before and during an auction. Time had passed and the turn of Dyf was approaching. The room was still packed and two phones were readying themselves, thus breaking the monotony in the room. Was it for the Dyf? It had to be as no other lot of interest was catalogued near the Dyf.
Yes, the Dyf was up for sale. The porter held it high up in the middle of the saleroom. It looked so small, so disappointing from far away. Fingers crossed, I needed a little help from above. It was all a blur from the distance, but I knew that the painting was pretty, indeed a beautiful painting. All quiet in the room and the auctioneer Philip Taylor is readying himself once again.
“Marcel Dyf and I have a lot of interest in this lot.”
Great, I thought! Help Philip, I urged him silently, crossing my damp fingers and dripping palms.
“£3000 I am bid,” he carried on. Two hundred at a time, and with two bidders in the room, he made it to £4000. Relief, reserve reached, no more pressure. I was right up to that point. It is a bonus, whatever more it sells at, I calmed myself down!
Bidding war on or wishful thinking?
Nothing warned me of the events that were to unfold next. A well-dressed lady at the back of the room raised her hand and kept it up, thus making her intention known to everybody present. A telephone bidder was bidding too and the war of two hundred pounds at a time was on.
“£5000,” smiled the auctioneer. “Five two, five four…£6000.” Nobody moved. Only the voice of Philip, the hand up and the phone were active. Dead silence, the rest of the audience and I melted in expectation.
The hand was still up. The well-dressed lady was cool and determined, no worry in the world in her face and body language. Go on my dear, I whispered to myself. The sale of my painting was reaching boiling point. The phone bidder was insistent. I was so engrossed, so involved, that for a moment I forgot I was the beneficiary of this bidding war. I was more preoccupied with my sweating and high temperature that I knew made me look as red as a beetroot.
“£6200, six four, six six, six eight, £7000” called Phillip all smiles. It was fast; it was exciting. The room was absorbed by the actions of three people in the room – the auctioneer and the gestures from the two warring bidders.
“£7000. I have seven thousand,” called the auctioneer expectantly. Still the hand was raised, still the phone engaged.
Go on guys! Go on!
“£7000, seven two, …… seven eight, £8000,” smiled Philip Taylor looking at the underbidder.
It’s worth more, guys. Make my day and my year. Go on!
“£8000 to you madam, in the room.”
One more on the phone, yes, one more! Yippee!
“Eight four, eight six, and eight eight to you madam, in the room. £8800, 8800…sold to you madam, £8800,” beamed Philip.
The hand had stayed up, the lady was a cool customer, and there was no more from the phone. What a sale and what profits, what unexpected profits!
The Dyf sold for £8800!
What a result, what a sale and what a bidding duel that brought smiles and joy to my heart and my pocket! In the process of the bidding war, I had exhausted myself with anxiety and emotions of extreme worry at the beginning to euphoria at the end. That sale was not expected to be so good, but how could I know that two months later Dyf paintings similar to mine would be selling for £15,000 at Sotheby’s and Christie’s?
Being impatient was a major problem in my deals, but any investment yielding 400% profit within three months was an investment made in the heavens!
Stacy-Marks bought the painting, as I found out later, and so he had a bargain in my property. Good luck to him. The new season of 1988-89 had started in the most auspicious way. Art trading and investing was indeed a great way to accumulate wealth. At that point of the 1988-89 season I was on cloud nine. Would 1988-89 end like that? Would there be more bidding wars to benefit from?
PETER CONSTANT STARTED AS AN AMATEUR INVESTOR IN 1983 TO BECOME A SEASONED INVESTOR WITHIN THE FOLLOWING THIRTY YEARS. PLEASE FOLLOW MY JOURNEY INTO THE ART WORLD IN MY BLOG EVERY SUNDAY!!