The New York Times published an article titled “Passion and Prudence, the Secrets to Collecting” as topic in a section on wealth management.  One again we see how dealers are treated and misunderstood, at the expense of auctions and specifically the Sotheby’s/Christie’s duopoly).  I responded to the author.

 

Dear Ms. Rozhon,

 

I think your article on collecting antiques couldn’t come at a more opportune time in an industry that has suffered image issues and the intense competition of the Mid 20th Century modern design trend.  

 

However, you have done a great disservice to the dealer trade by depicting them as good only for charging a fee to vet items at auction.  In fact, you say that collectors “should shop at one or two major auction houses or include country auctions, too?” Why are dealer inventories off limits as a source?  

 

In the last decade, by anyone’s count, the number of dealers has contracted by a significant number not only in the US, but Europe too.  I put a lot of blame on dealers, but in your article, you have been manipulated and seduced by “auctionmania”.

 

You reference the two major auctions (I call it the Sotheby’s/Christie’s duopoly) but don’t explain their operating methods of using a deceptive secret reserve (chandelier/sham bidding), and conflict of interest with a seller’s commission and a non-negotiable buyer’s premium of 25%.  

 

Please, give dealers a break.  For a collector, a dealer offers a viable alternative to see more items, with no charge for questions and answers.  As a third generation dealer I implore you to level the playing field for dealers when the auctions clearly play by their own rigged rules.

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