The Hidden Dangers of Bidding in Auctions at Sea
Jori Finkel just wrote an alarming article about the dangers of bidding in art auctions on cruise ships. Park West is the largest auction house operating at sea, boasting roughly $300 million in annual revenue. Operating on well respected cruise lines such as Carnival, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian, the auction house woos inexperienced clients with drinks, a high-end atmosphere, and the false sense of security people feel aboard a ship. Official looking authenticity certificates are furnished, and prints signed with the names of famous artists like Picasso and Dali induce confidence.
To the novice art collector, bidding at sea seems like a wonderful deal but reality comes crashing down once the ship docks and clients get a chance to investigate their new acquisitions at home on art price databases such a artnet.com, and realize that they have grossly overpaid. As with most major auction houses, all sales are final and canceling a sale and obtaining a refund is nearly impossible. In her article, Finkel cites several law suits and complaints filed on the Fine Art Registry. My conclusion from this story is that Park West is not to be trusted, that due diligence should always be conducted before purchasing a work of art, and that it is definitely wiser to bid onshore with a reputable auction house than offshore.
Filed under: art market, auctions, collecting | 2 Comments
Tags: Auctions at sea, authenticity, chandelier bidding, Fine Art Registry, lawsuit, Park West