Do not buy art on cruise ships

by on July 17, 2008 at 6:44 am in The Arts | Permalink

In case you did not know.  Here is one example of a fool:

It was only after Mr. Maldonado landed back in California that he did
some research on his purchases. Including the buyer’s premium, he had
paid $24,265 for a 1964 “Clown” print by Picasso. He found that
Sotheby’s had sold the exact same print (also numbered 132 of 200) in
London for about $6,150 in 2004.

Of course the corruption and foolishness runs deeper than the article lets on.  If you shop for contemporary prints in entirely "reputable" Georgetown galleries, they will charge about twice the going auction rate for the prints.  They might tell you that the prints are "hard to find" when in fact usually they are not.  A good New York dealer, used to dealing with well-informed customers, might charge only 10-15 percent above auction (full price including buyer’s premium).  The bottom line is that you should never spend more than $1500 on art unless you know at least roughly what it is worth at auction.  One of life’s good rules of thumb.

1 Daniel Corradi July 17, 2008 at 8:04 am

When you think about it, it is a brilliant system from a seller’s perspective. On a cruise ship, there are many potential buyers with a ridiculous amount of disposable income with imperfect information about the market for collectibles. I guess the idea of “auctioning” off these items as opposed to simply opening a gallery is to give an aura of desperation that this is a “last minute” opportunity. It’s genius. When is the next time these individuals are going to have the ability to buy a Picasso at “auction price.” They really did get jipped.

In any case, anyone who is ripped off on the price of collectibles these days is simply falling victim to the last pockets of imperfect information for the market of collectibles. Theoretically with the search capabilities of the internet you should never unintentionally settle for a bad deal.

2 Daniel Corradi July 17, 2008 at 8:37 am

Nope. Comic book pages are sold regularly on Ebay. Look at current and past sales, they have even designated a category for it. The price will vary according to the superhero, the particular artist, and the issue. You can still make an educated estimate using past data for their value.

3 angus July 17, 2008 at 9:24 am

That’s a great r.o.t. Tyler, here’s another: DON’T GO ON CRUISE SHIPS!!!!

4 MH July 17, 2008 at 9:51 am

There is only one safe way to buy art: ordering from the supplement in your Sunday paper.

5 MH July 17, 2008 at 11:27 am

I would never pay more than $10/unicorn and $6/per rainbow when I buy art. For kittens or Elvis, I got a bit higher.

6 GU July 17, 2008 at 12:15 pm

WE NEED A LAW TO PROTECT THESE VULNERABLE CRUISING ART PURCHASERS!!!!!!!

7 Philipw2 July 17, 2008 at 12:23 pm

“The bottom line is that you should never spend more than $1500 on art unless you know at least roughly what it is worth at auction.”

How do you find out what art is worth at auction? The papers report the $75 million are. But how do you find the auction price of $4,000 art?

8 Anonymous July 17, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Art is not political.

Since when?

In any event, caveat emptor. Duh.

9 meter July 17, 2008 at 1:56 pm

The better rule of thumb is don’t make *any* discretionary purchases on a cruise ship.

10 Sigivald July 17, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Paul: What law makes murder on the high seas illegal?

Answer: Every ship is under the jurisdiction of the flagging nation.

Now, this will very rarely (due to various legal reasons involving making it cost a lot) be the United States, but I’m pretty sure that the various nations that are commonly used to flag cruise ships all have fraud laws.

(They might not really care, but they have laws. Plus there’s the question of proving the fraud, finding the perpetrator who has likely vanished…)

11 Suzi July 17, 2008 at 5:02 pm

I’ve been on a cruise ship and I’ve bought art there. I did not get ripped off. But I also took advantage of the expensive but available net to check on prices. Or I spent considerably less than I already knew it cost. There were substantially expensive pieces available, but the auction house was a reputable one from Florida.

I would be concerned about fraud if I were sold a Picasso that Sotheby’s had sold four years before, though it might be the same piece.

I will say that the nicer the cruise, the more reputable the art dealers.

12 mary July 18, 2008 at 11:07 am

It is easy to slam the folks that run the auctions on cruise ships – I mean come on – rampant cases of stomach flu on multiple ships, sleazy singles cruises, grandma and grandpa in really bad matching Hawaiian shirts, etc. But, they’re not all like that. My cousin is an art auctioneer on a cruise line. She has a degree in Art History from a major University and has studied abroad in Italy and Spain extensively. I am sure she’d rather be working at a major museum in NYC – but she enjoys her job and does it well. And, I know she is not out to rip anybody off – In fact, she’ll often call her parents if there is some art that she thinks they might like. She spends an incredible amount of time learning about each artist and she gives that information to the auction attendees. I’d trust her and buy from her. Don’t paint all cruise auctions with a broad brush.

13 Raducu October 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

This is funny.Don’t buy art on a cruise boat.People usually go on a cruise to visit different places and feel good not to buy art stuff.I would go on a cruise ship to feel good and see different things.Celebrity Cruise

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