Sothebys Transparency Scandal –

Sotheby’s Transparency Scandal –

Sotheby’s is currently embroiled in a scandal involving several paintings sold at auction to CNET founder Hasley Minor who is refusing to pay for the works because Sotheby’s allegedly failed to disclose the fact that they had a direct economic interest in the works purchased by Minor. Last month Sotheby’s sued Minor for not paying for the works who has subsequently sued Sotheby’s for failing to disclose their financial interest in the work. The problem with an auction house having a financial interest in a work of art is that it could be argued that the auction house will focus more resources and energy on the promotion of that work to ensure that they receive the best possible financial outcome for themselves. This would mean that the buyer will most likely pay more for the work because of the auction house’s financial interest in the work.

More details on the case can be viewed here:

Similar issues relating to the transparency of auction house dealings have been making headlines here in Australia where a group of auction houses recently lodged a formal complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission relating to the failure by another auction house to disclose details of the financial interest that they had in several paintings that the sold. For further details see this post:

My question to you is should auction houses be required to identify works they are selling that they have a financial interest in and do you believe that an auction house could cause an increase in the selling price of a work they have a financial interest in by focusing more on the promotion and sale of that work?

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

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