Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2010 Issue

New York State Considers (Weakened) Auction Regulations

Noimage


When the earlier version was proposed in 2007, several auction houses voiced objections. Sotheby's warned that houses would move a substantial number of sales to London, and that bidders were aware of these practices anyway. However, if bidders were aware of these practices, we don't understand why this provision would be objectionable, as they rely on bidders' lack of understanding to be effective. If the auction houses would move a lot of sales from their natural location just to allow for "sham" bidding, the presumption is the practice must be very effective. That is unfortunate.

Basically, while "sham" bidding may be an old and venerable process, and many bidders may realize it is going on, its basic purpose is deception. Our own belief is that the previous requirement to notify bidders that a bid was "for the consignor" was better than no notification, and outright prohibition of the practice would be better still. Whatever the short term gains, buyers can become disenchanted with a process that employs deception, particularly if it leads them to overbid on an item. Venues that are perceived as being open and honest, as well as providing good value, are more likely, in our opinion, to prosper. We see the watering down of this provision as a squandered opportunity for auction houses to afford their customers greater confidence in the process while preventing wayward houses from gaining an unfair advantage, or hurting the reputation of auctions in general.

Most of the other provisions in Brodsky's earlier bill remain intact. One requires auction houses to disclose at the beginning of an auction whether some bidders have been offered loans. The idea here is that those with credit may push prices higher than they would without this benefit, though we imagine such a statement at the beginning of an auction will not have much more effect than fine print on a contract. Auctioneers are to be held responsible for the truth of statements in their catalogues, while consignors must warrant lawful title. Auctions must reimburse purchasers their bids if it turns out they have not received transferable title. Auctioneers must disclose whether they have a financial interest in an article. Prospective buyers must be allowed to inspect merchandise before sales, while auction houses must pay consignors within 14 days. That may prove a bit tight where there are a lot of consignors in an auction, but should help prevent a weak house from using the consignors' proceeds as a bridge loan to the next auction.

A copy of the summary and complete bill may be found on the New York Assembly website by clicking here now. It should be noted that this bill has passed the New York State Assembly before, only to die in the Senate, so there is no guarantee this one won't meet the same fate.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions