#SameOrDifferent: Auctions Commissions vs Taxes

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

This is our series: Same or Different. Something we all know from comparing slaves to free man but this time it's more obligatory.

Watch Auction Commission- & Tax-Rates: Back then both used to be 10%. Taxes in ancient times and auction-fees in the 1990s. But things changed.

Seriously, did you know the regular commission of Christies, Sothebys or Habsburg & Feldman (Patrizzi-founded Antiquorum owner, back then) was just 10% for their watches auctioneered approx 30 years ago in 1990? The now top-dog Philips Watches wasn't yet active. Yes, and now they ALL, without exception, charge >25% to the buyer and the seller / consignee pays another 10% to them, without the auctioneer having a skin in the game, as the item is not in their book and the estimate usually significantly below the fair value making an unsold item the exception. You pay for their knowledge? Mhh, at least their expertise is sometimes patchy, as some wrong and inaccurate descriptions demonstrate and whether this fee is fair for their provenance- and authenticity-checks, could be questioned as well in the light of some recent discoveries by @perezcope (Instagram).

Anyway, this and the auctioneers smug behavior is what you get in an oligopoly market, but fortunately such a state has some predetermined breaking points and is rarely stable. As usual, the times they are a-changing.

See the other parts in this series here: #SameOrDifferent