When I wrote the blog about my less than satisfactory transaction with Christie's auction house, I believed that would be the end of that. Was I mistaken! The first email that I received referring to the blog stated "Who do they think they are?" I thought the person was talking about the treatment that I had received, but no, they were talking about the treatment they had received at the hands of Christie's. Here is their quote, "I have tried to contact them but they didn't even respond to my request. You can be assured that the very nice American silver pieces that I was calling them about won't be adorning a Christie's catalog after reading your blog.”
Wow! And that was just the start because the next person contacting me asked if the blog was for real because they just couldn't believe it. I assured them that every word was the truth. Then came the call asking if I was going to do a follow-up story about other experiences I have had with auction houses and expressing surprise at the conduct of Christie's. It went on like that all day. There was also the woman that sent pictures to Christie's and never heard back from them. Perhaps they got lost in the mail like my check did.
Not wanting to beat a dead horse because I think you get the idea, there were other calls defending other auction houses. A friend of mine told this story about an auction house in Montana. I wish I had written down the name but I didn't. He consigned a painting to this auction house and it didn't sell so he called them and asked if they would try to sell it. The reserve had been $1000 so to his surprise they got back to him within a couple of days and said the painting was sold for a little over $900. Expecting a check for the $900 less commission, when the mail arrived with a check for the full sales price, he called and they said since it didn't sell in the auction they waived the commission. I ask you, do they have a customer for life? Here is a story about my experience with Cincinnati Art Gallery. I consigned a Daum Nancy piece to one of their auctions and someone tried to say it was a fake. If this rumor had persisted, the piece wouldn't have brought anything. The auction house kept me informed about the information on the piece before they sold it at auction time and most people had been convinced that they had nothing to worry about. The piece brought well over $13,000 and it may have even been over $15,000. I will never forget what they did for me and you can be assured that if I have anything that would fit into one of their auctions that is where it will sell.
I have nothing but the utmost respect for honest auction houses and they have become some of my closest friends. Here is a short list of auctions that I would put my reputation on: Shannon's in Milford Ct., Sotheby's New York, Cincinnati Art Gallery Cincinnati Oh., Sohn's auction Evansville Ind. and Early's Auction Cincinnati Oh. There are hundreds of other fine auction houses I am sure but these that I have mentioned worked for me and always tried their best to be sure I was well represented.
I did get a good piece of advice from one of my callers and he said to tell my readers to really read the contract with the auction house before you sign it and if there is anything you disagree with cross it out. Also he said to share that most things are negotiable in the contracts such as commission, ins., photo fees, reserves and resale fees. I will promise that never again will I sell anything without a reserve and if the auction says they won't take it with a reserve then it won't be sold.
Auctions can be your best friends but just like a friend, choose wisely. I am sure we at the Daryle Lambert Antique and Collectible Club will have more opportunities to list items in our marketplace since this experience we had with Christie's.