Selling Asian Art Via Auction Or Direct Sale, The Pros And Cons
About The Asian Art Market, It's Bicameral Selling Environment
Selling Asian art, in particular, Chinese art and objects, in today's market offers two very obvious choices. To make sure you get the most money possible requires a little strategy on your part. Also some basic math.
In general, sellers can either make an auction consignment or a make a direct sale to a dealer, preferably a specialized one.
Dealers and Auctioneers will both give you a pricing evaluation(s) based on what they know about their own particular market. One will be higher than the other pretty much every time.
Dealers and Auctioneers do function in the same overall market but occupy different spheres that do overlap but are not the same.
Despite the common perception, auction houses do not always get the most money for items. As a result, dealers make up a huge percentage of buying dollars in the auction market. Conversely, some collectors prefer buying in a competitive environment over buying from a dealer. While other collectors prefer to buy exclusively from dealers 90% of the time.
This is why it's a good idea to check both possibilities before making a decision.
Selling Asian Art To A Dealer
The advantages of selling Asian art to a specialist dealer are fairly obvious.
Instant payment with no months of waiting for an auction to take place. Over and done with in minutes with instant payment.
Flexibility for the Seller. You as the seller can get "high" and "low" auction estimates, you can then ask t the dealer what he would pay right now, today for the item.
Auction houses can take anywhere from three to eight months to sell an item, you may not wish to wait that long.
Why Dealers prefer private purchases
Dealers prefer buying from private sources as it precludes their clients from being able to learn what they paid. After an auction everyone knows the prices, it's a public record.
Good Dealers know Collectors often prefer buying from dealers, as it keeps their buying private and doesn't leave a traceable sales history should they opt to sell in the future.
What's in it for you, the Seller?
Total Confidentiality, for some this is very important.
No negotiating commission rates.
No worries about changes in the market while waiting for an auction.
No disappointments if the piece doesn't sell at auction, or does but after commissions nets less than a dealer would have paid. (this does happen a lot.)
No worries about the buyer not paying the invoice after waiting months to sell the item(s). (It happens)
Selling Via Auction
The advantages of selling in an auction.
An opportunity to offer a rare item to a broad market, where price discovery or price predictability is unknown due to rarity.
If you have something that's not of a type with an easily estimable value, auctions can be a great way to go. As the market will decide for you, as it always does by its very nature. They can be enormously fun to participate in and very exciting. They can also be equally disappointing, so be prepared either way.
Price Predictability; Most experienced auctioneers can estimate fairly accurately what an item will realize based on their own history. You can then figure out rather easily what to expect for proceeds.
Like selling to a Dealer, Auctions are a viable way to liquidate collections. You must however in most scenarios have the luxury of time to do so.
Auctioneers may know a few people who've been searching for the very thing you wish to sell, which is a good combination for an abnormally high result.