The Blue Blot

notes, finds & fragments of research

On Auctions

Due to my family history, personal interests, and work, I have always been fascinated by auctions. I just adore the buzz and rumour and the anticipation which fills a room when there is an auction. In Bruxelles I lived right next to an auction house for a short period of time, but I went to every single auction they held. Their catalogue was simple and the descriptions were not always up to scratch, but at least they listened. The lady who owned it even asked me a few times for my opinion. If I remember correctly it was shortly after I nearly cried on the discovery of a ‘portrait of a young girl’ who was actually a boy, dressed accordingly to his status and the fashion of his time for children. Her assistant took pity on me and listened patiently while I tried to explain that even boys in that era would wear dresses. I’m pretty sure they will never make that mistake again!

But I will never, ever forgive that fancier of an auctioneer in Zeeland (Holland) who put in his catalogue ‘Portrait of the Housekeeper’ while it was clearly an upper class lady in a fashionable lace bonnet. On my comment about this error he replied with: ‘It’ll sell anyway’

Try reasoning with a man like that, eh?

Since long I have accounts at Sotheby’s and Christie’s and I try to visit their websites often to see what goes under the hammer. They may have a reputation of being there just so the old families can pay for a new roof on their manor, but please… if you handle history like this,  I think you are allowed to sell it at these absurd prices and ditto courtage.
Lately I have been keeping up with both and …ah! If only…
Still, I will post about some of them.


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This entry was posted on December 4, 2011 by in Under The Hammer and tagged , , .

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