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Gentlemen,

For the benefit of those of you who may have missed it, something that struck me as very interesting and worthy of mention took place at Andreas Thies' auction last week.

While the cased Prussian Crown Order 1st class with swords set (lot 880) sold for 30,000 Euro, or approximately $52,000 (including commission & conversion), which while certainly a lot of money is not outrageous for such a rare and often faked item; the two cased Prussian Crown Orders 4th class with swords (lots 885 & 886) sold for approximately $5,700 and $3,600. As I recall, in both cases the final two bidders were by telephone.

Go figure :speechless: -

Wild Card

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believ it should be said, too, that despite the fact that pieces are selling in auction for very high $ amounts, the payment of those pieces can drag on for month and years after the auction. Some pieces were sold last year and are pooping up at last auction due to some fine new customers not paying for them. So yes, high, but what does really sell in the end?

I had something in one of those auctions and had to wait for almost a year for payment.

Maybe the German auction houses should do a better job in screeing their clients, but then there is greed....

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I believ it should be said, too, that despite the fact that pieces are selling in auction for very high $ amounts, the payment of those pieces can drag on for month and years after the auction. Some pieces were sold last year and are pooping up at last auction due to some fine new customers not paying for them. So yes, high, but what does really sell in the end?

I had something in one of those auctions and had to wait for almost a year for payment.

Maybe the German auction houses should do a better job in screeing their clients, but then there is greed....

I made the exact same experience and agree to the screening idea!

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Gentlemen,

I completely agree with your observations and suggestions regarding a screening process; but, in reality, could such a policy be implemented, and how? I should think that, as much as their reliable clients, the auctioneers would welcome a solution to this problem. Greed or not, the auctioneers do not need this aggravation and I am inclined to think that they will not be putting up with it forever.

If I am reading this situation correctly, I am guessing that this problem is even more serious in the area of Imperial Russian and Soviet items. No? Regardless, hopefully an answer will be found.

Best wishes,

Wild Card

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I would like now to be recognized by next year's Nobel Prize in Economics committee:

Yes, I HAVE the Perfect Solution.

It is called

Have Cash In The Room. :catjava:

If people have 7 and 6 figures to "phone in," surely SOME excess gopher could be physically present in 3-dimensions--presumably attached to an armored briefcase full of bank notes and a couple of gorillas with bulging armpits? :speechless:

Apparently "normal" auction procedure-- having the NEXT highest bidder contacted at HIS price in event of a higher defaulter is tossed aside.

After all, better to let consignors wait a year (the Manion's System) than conclude a SALE?

Or is it simply :unsure: that the SORT of people who phone in these clinically insane bids are NOT the types to "chide" about welshing on their debts, hmmm? :rolleyes:

It was a different world when only eccentric gentleman-collectors slaved away lifetimes building up private collections...

before thugs laundering money decided to diversify (absurdly and with deranged lack of future return on the CRAZY :speechless: sums expended) their On The Lam portfolios.

(Fleeing Mega-felon, Incognito: "Hey, I give you St Anna star with twinklies, you look other way while I climb over border fence!!"

Ill-paid Border Functionary: "Geez, you're the third one this week! Don't you guys have any CASH???????") :banger:

Meanwhile, the latter category of

"investor"

might be quite more rationally served by quietly buying up small, warm, islands in out of the way places with pliable local governments too eager and militarily under-equipped to be alarmed at the importation of thick-necked "Doctor No" types looking for extradition hideaways with passports of convenience.

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While ?cash in the room? is an obvious answer, for a number of reasons, it is not practical. ?2nd highest bidder?, however, does have some merit and might work.

I also think that a time limit for payment after date of invoice would be a start. Then ineligibility to participate after a second violation. It may take a couple of years, but it could clean things up.

If you want to play, you?ve got to pay :shame: -

Wild Card

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"Cash in the room" certainly is best, but all too often there is no longer a "room". Or, where there is a room, the bidders are spread throughout the world.

Vetting bidders is difficult and an administrative nightmare. You'll that many houses require some "deposit" with bids from unknown bidders, but that is rarely enforced. So, you accept the risk in taking bids from unknown bidders (many of whom become good customers later on).

There are certainly times when payment drags out. The auctioneer is left with several options: (1) enforce the bidding contract through legal means (too costly in 99.9% of the cases); (2) pay the consignor and hold the debt (done when the bidder is known and temporarily unable to pay -- better to hold the debt and retain the customers, but obviously with some risk); (3) cancel the sale (usually leaving all parties unhappy); (4) let it drag on (making the seller unhappy and giving the buyer the impression that the contract is meaningless). All the options have unpleasant aspects for all parties.

My experience is that only a handful of bidders are dishonest about their bids. The problems arise when bidders overextend themselves (e.g., bidding on a number of lots, expecting to lose some, but getting them all). I've had bidders lose their jobs between winning a lot and the payment date, and one who wound up in the hospital after a stroke (not caused by the invoice). The auction house has to deal with such situations on a case-by-case basis.

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While all of this is enlightening. I think Andreas' comments were the most startling to me. I always surmised that when my high bid was run over like roadkill it was by bidders with DEEP pockets. People who are so wealthy and have so much disposable income that it is inconsequential for them to pay "too much" for a lot. As long as it is something rare, and what they wanted.

I am now to understand that my competition is all too mortal and is actually cursed by winning just as much as blessed. Interesting.

Edited by Claudius
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