Will New, Higher Buyers’ Premiums at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips Cause Auction Prices to Dive?
Art Law

Will New, Higher Buyers’ Premiums at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips Cause Auction Prices to Dive?

Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen takes bids at a Christie’s auction on November 15, 2017. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen takes bids at a Christie’s auction on November 15, 2017. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images No doubt about it, the price of art keeps rising, but so too does the cost of buying art, at least at auction. In February, three of the top auction houses in the world—Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s—all increased their buyers’ premium (the additional amounts that winning bidders find tacked onto their bills) by one percent for items fetching a hammer price of $4 million and up: From 12.5 to 13.5 percent at Christie’s, from 12.9 to 13.9 percent at Phillips and Sotheby’s. Buyers’ premiums on artworks sold for under $4 million have also seen some adjustment. Winning bidders will pay a 25 percent levy on any piece that was sold for under $300,000 (previously that percentage applied to works sold for under $250,000), and 20 percent on anything over $300,000 but under $4 million. Subscribe to Observer’s Arts Newsletter In the art law and advisory field, many expect that the higher premiums could lead to lower hammer prices. Bidders are likely to be increasingly factoring […]

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