Published: September 26, 2000
Auction giants Sotheby’s and Christie’s have reached a tentative agreement to pay $512 million to settle claims they conspired to manipulate prices they were paid by sellers and buyers, The New York Times reported September 23, according to the Associated Press. The auction houses are each responsible for $256 million of the settlement, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified lawyers involved in the negotiations. The proposed settlement comes after a three-year Justice Department criminal investigation into whether the two auction giants, which control 95 percent of the $4 billion worldwide auction market, stifled competition by colluding on several business practices. In a statement to its shareholders, Sotheby’s revealed it will be receiving $156 million from former chairman A. Alfred Taubman toward the settlement, who will be paying an additional $50 million in cash, and will be issuing discount coupons to the class with a value of $50 million, which the class members can use as a credit against future vendor’s commissions. The settlement of the shareholder class action lawsuit provides for a cash payment to the class of $30 million. Mr. Taubman has agreed to pay Sotheby’s $30 million in cash, which will be applied by Sotheby’s towards this settlement. Additionally, the class will be issued $40 million in Sotheby’s Class A Common Stock. Sotheby’s net cash outlay as a result of all of these settlements will be $50 million.
“Yellow Roses,” a painting reportedly the work the Post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh and offered for sale online at Michigan-based OldAndSold Antiques Auction (oldandsold.com), has been pulled from the site and the auction suspended. The authentication of a possible Van Gogh would be crucial to such a work’s success at auction. Experts use technical analysis to determine not only whether the painting is of the period its owner asserts, but also, more importantly, whether it is the work of the artist himself. Representatives of OldAndSold.com declined to comment on the action.
And speaking of Van Gogh, the “Van Gogh: Face to Face” exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan, made a $92.7-million impact on the city’s economy, according to an economic impact study released September 21 to the Associated Press. The study, which polled 600 people who attended the show, was done by Southfield-based Yee Minard & Associates and commissioned by the DIA and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Van Gogh is powerful proof that art and economics are compatible,” W. Frank Fountain, president of the DaimlerChrysler Fund, told The Detroit News. The DaimlerChrysler Fund sponsored of the exhibition, which cost $3.9 million to produce in Detroit. Museum director Graham W.J. Beal said the 315,350 tickets sold for the exhibit, which ran March 12 to June 4, totaled $3.1 million and attracted visitors from 48 states and as far away as Russia and Japan. Museum shop sales totaled $800,000 and $300,000 was made in food services. Museum membership increased 20 percent for $750,000 in additional revenue.
Resaleworld, Inc., a turnkey web-enabling inventory management and POS system out of Minneapolis, Minn., has partnered with Antiques & Collectibles Associations, an umbrella organization representing the NAAM, ACDA, ACSPA, and NAC. The partnership will allow antique mall and store owners to sell rdf_Descriptions simultaneously in their stores and on multiple Web sites; when an rdf_Descriptions sells online, it will automatically become unavailable in-store.
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y., has concluded its first capital campaign in the history of the college, raising $42,874,529 in less than four years, exceeding its goal by over $800,000. The funds raised in the first phase will be used to support “brick and mortar” projects, scholarships, and to increase the endowment.
go2sell, an independent sales agent on the Internet based in Chicago, Ill., will welcome several antiques and collectibles authorities to its advisory board. The team includes authors such as Harry L. Rinker, Nicholas Dawes, and Susan and Al Bagdade – providing an “in-house” base of knowledge in a broad spectrum of collecting fields.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., has launched a children’s Web site, NGAkids, at www.nga.gov. The site features stories, activities and information on gallery collections.
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