"YEA!" for Europe and the Impressionist and Modern Auctions

Note: This blog was co-written by Asher Edelman and Stewart Waltzer.


Yea for Europe (we hope)! On October 27 the European community announced the “solution” to sovereign debt and European banking. Some issues were left a bit unclear such as:

  • Does the “voluntary” default constitute a default especially as to credit swaps? That issue will determine which banks fail first, though the intent isto nullify derivative obligations. What will the courts say?
  • From where arrives the money and whence? That will determine whether the other five teetering countries and some of the banks can be saved. It will also determine the inflation rate.
  • At what pace will the European banks be nationalized?
  • What is to be the effect on world financial and general economic conditions?
  • A lot of baggage to sort out. However, a reasonable start or at least a reasonable announcement of intent.

    Now, to the Impressionist Modern Auctions. The top layer of the art market has consistently outperformed all other markets.We include stocks, real estate, commodities, and most known asset classes. TheEuropean “miracle” has, at the morning of 27 October, brought us exuberance in markets. If this exuberance holds through next week we might see a reasonable auction set.

    The estimates set forth in the evening sales are anticipating new high prices for many artists. Whether this stance is real or simply the result of the houses battling for merchandise is not clear. Our take says it is the latter. Guarantees have dried up with only six lots guaranteed three by one of the houses as principal and thereby third parties, out of a total of one hundred and fifty four lots. Certainly neither the houses nor their usual third party guarantors exude confidence in the pricing of the sales.

    Though the art market follows other markets, (usually with a time lag even though the art market outperforms all other markets over the long term) now is a time for some caution. All may not be as it seems.

  • Sellers: Listen to your auction rep when he calls you to lower your reserves.Greed is not in order.
  • Buyers: Don’t venture a bid until the auctioneer indicates the reserve has been satisfied. (He normally says “I can sell it here”) Both houses have private sale departments where you can make a deal for unsold lots.
  • For Stewart Waltzer and Asher's thoughts on Christie's November 1 auction and Sotheby's November 2 auction, please click here or visit AsherEdelman.com.

    For archival information visit www.asheredelman.com or write to Asher at aedelman@edelco.com

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