If you have ever wondered what an art auction is and how it works, in this post you will find the answers.
Perhaps not everyone knows that auctioning is the oldest form of art trading. In fact, it is a public auction sale introduced in ancient Rome.
Auctions were very popular with the Romans and were held on the Via Sacra and under the porticoes of the Saepta Julia in the Forum.
The term “auction” derives from Latin and refers to the custom of sticking a spear (“hasta”) into the ground where the sale was held. This guaranteed that the trade was carried out under the guarantee of the public authority (“sub hasta”).
The spectacular increase in collecting, which became known in Rome from the 1st century BC (after the conquest of Greece), led to a great boost in the sales of works of art through this channel. Also, to the figure of the auctioneer were added those of the appraiser, the importer, the mediator… And the tendency to invest money in artistic objects was also born in order to sell them successively, in periods of economic difficulties.
Currently, auctions are often spoken of almost always on the occasion of sales of works by renowned artists, whose millionaire prices become news in the main media. However, the work of an auction room takes place throughout the year and concerns both works of art and other types of collectibles, such as decorative art, numismatics, books and manuscripts, jewelry, furniture, etc.
Another prejudice around auctions is that they only sell very expensive works to very wealthy collectors. In fact, at auction you can find pieces of great interest for very different pockets. In our room we auction pieces whose starting price ranges from 50 euros up to more important figures.
The auction room acts as a mediator between the owner and / or seller, on their behalf, and the potential buyers. The output figure for each piece is determined by mutual agreement between the room and the seller, after careful evaluation and estimation by the experts in the auction room. Each batch is subject to a process of study and cataloging. Sometimes the room can organize the lots, subdivide or combine them according to its expert judgment.
The potential buyer of a lot, in addition to seeing it live and reading the information contained in the catalog, can always request additional information or photographs of details by contacting the room.
On the day the auction is held, both the public who wants to attend and the potential buyers go to the auction room at the pre-established time.
Who wants to participate in the bid has to register at the entrance to be assigned a pallet with an identification number. In addition to direct face-to-face bidding, there is also the possibility of requesting a telephone bid (for which a minimum value of the auctioned lot is required). Written offers can also be submitted via the web up to 24 hours before the bid.