Auctions Are the Best Free Theater in Town

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Few people know that auctions aren’t closed to the public – they’re open and there are lots of them throughout the year.

Many people have seen movies that feature dramatic and suspenseful auction scenes, where interested parties are bidding on something priceless, driving the price up bit by bit until the auctioneer shouts “Sold!” But few people know that auctions aren’t closed to the public – they’re open and there are lots of them throughout the year. And according to novelist and art world expert Robert J. Hughes, you don’t have to spend any money at all to be up close to some of the most exciting drama anywhere.

Hughes says that while the big auction houses have major sales in the evening of expensive Impressionist, modern and contemporary art that are quite crowded, the houses also have many day sales in such categories as jewelry, furniture and even celebrity estates.

Here are Hughes’s tips on how to attend:

  •     Check the auction house websites for dates and times of auctions, which in the U.S. are held mainly in New York, though there are sometimes sales of goods in Los Angeles and many American cities have their own regional auction houses
  •     Scan the sites for areas that interest you, whether you like furniture, books, clothing – there are many categories of sales
  •     Dress appropriately. You won’t have to get dolled or duded up in eveningwear, but business casual is fine and for some auctions, you can be quite casual
  •     Ask at the front desk where the auction is being held, though sales rooms are often posted on signs in the lobby
  •     If you want, you may purchase a catalog for the sale, though these can be pricey, since they’re generally four-color and printed on heavy stock, and can cost as much as $40. But a catalog is not necessary as photos are usually displayed
  •     Take a seat in the auction room and enjoy – without ever raising your hand to bid (though you can do that, if you really want to)

Robert J. Hughes, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has covered the art market, is the author of a novel set in the auction world, ‘Late and Soon,” and can speak about this intriguing area.

Contact:

Betsy Steve

646-437-1208

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Betsy Steve

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