Tuesday - 29 July 2014

Joel throw down the gauntlet over vendors’ commissions

09 June 2012Written by ATG Reporter

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 scene.

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 going back.

"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."

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