The Hidden Dangers of Bidding in Auctions at Sea

17Jul08
Picasso "Le Clown" print, similar to many works offered by Park West aboard cruise ships, grossly overvalued or even fake?

Picasso "Le Clown" print, similar to many works offered by Park West aboard cruise ships, grossly overvalued or even fake?

Jori Finkel just wrote an alarming article about the dangers of bidding in art auctions on cruise shipsPark 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.

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2 Responses to “The Hidden Dangers of Bidding in Auctions at Sea”

  1. I’ve seen these auctions although the day I went they didn’t have the auction and claimed they will sell me some Dali prints for the reserve price, if real the cost was so inflated it was crazy, perhaps $15K more than it was worth and was it real. Lots of fake pints and within the last year or two many people indited and it’s far from over. They say Dali was a fraud too! Take a google at “Dali and I” – I also see new websites popping up http://www.art-fraud.org goes into more details if anyone wants to check it out. I also notice that the art market on ebay is D-E-A-D!

  2. 2 Earlene

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