Australian auction house Leonard Joel have made a public challenge to competitors by offering a 105% return to sellers for the higher end of the market.
The Melbourne-based auctioneers made their
offer for any painting or sculpture consigned between April 1 and
December 31 this year that goes on to sell for Aus$40,000 (about
£25,600) or more - including anything sold in 2013 that was
consigned in 2012.
It is not uncommon for auction houses to
attract consignments by making such offers, but Leonard Joel have
done it in a much more highly publicised manner than most in a bid
to grab a larger share of the pricier Australian painting
It has been structured as an introductory
offer, and critics have branded the deal a "come and go" discount,
but managing director John Albrecht is adamant that there is no
"We believe we have already created an
irreversible restructure in the way sellers will think about
selling charges, so we plan to build a much more transparent
selling charges regime around this offer that is viable, creative
and competitive," he told ATG.
"I believe auction houses and their
traditional modes of communication with elaborate words and opaque
arrangements is a thing of the past."
Whether other auction houses follow their
example, or simply regard it as a short-term sales gimmick for
maximum publicity, remains to be seen but Mr Albrecht said: "I know
other auction houses occasionally offer this sort of deal to their
ultra-high-value sellers; I am simply offering it to a broader
selling base as I believe they deserve the opportunity and it
provides a neat opportunity for Leonard Joel to reintroduce itself
to high-value art sellers."