My Word Winter 2016

In this issue we cover the hit both Christies and Sothebys have taken in the high end market. We have also noted that the auction houses have again turned their attention back to  the middle markets recognizing that they were leaving significant cash on the table. The problem is simple. How do you make potential buyers feel comfortable buying online. Brick and mortar solutions are far too expensive and time consuming to make this a viable model. The solution must be online. The greater the confidence of the buyer, the higher the lot level is and the more efficient and profitable your selling efforts become.

My recent trip to Houston and the opportunity to see the Virgin of Guadalupe exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science was well worthwhile. If you are in Houston this is a worthwhile stop for you.

In this issue we also note efforts from state and federal government to  regulate the art world through tax policy. It seems this has been coming for a long time as the ongoing search to find the funds to sustain the bloated government finally finds the art world.

We all travel too much..You might enjoy the Wall Street Journal article in this issue on the cheapest day to buy a ticket.

Finally, when I first entered the business in 1974, Mert Simpson was considered the top African art dealer in the world. Mert's stroke and then death in 2013 were important moments in our field as we witnessed the passing of a fine man who contributed much to our field. Unfortunately disagreements and strife among the beneficiaries have made it impossible to settle the estate. New York state took over and asked me to assist. Last December  my colleagues and I cataloged and triaged over 1600 objects and it certainly was not what we expected. Hidden amidst some of the mundane objects were some fine pieces to include a Von Luschan documented 16th century Benin plaque. All will be sold in two sales in late Spring and early Fall. This includes Mert's huge archive dating back more than fifty years.We will provide updates as we spend more time matching up objects to Mert's archive.

You might want to check out the images in this newsletter of some of the objects we have found in the last few months.