Sotheby’s has been trying to raise the bar since Dan Loeb joined the board of the NYSE-listed company.

On Monday 26 January, William Ruprecht, who still has a couple of weeks to go as CEO, announced that Sotheby’s would be increasing its buyer premiums from 1 February.

The big international auction houses traditionally increase their fees in the third quarter, or that has been the norm over the past two years. They generally avoid altering premiums to not upset collectors, but happily increase their thresholds, as this is perceived as being a little less painful.

It was the timing that changed last week, along with the natural order of things, since Christie’s usually fires the start gun, with Sotheby’s, Phillips, and Bonham’s following in their footsteps.

From next month, art lovers who find their dream painting in a Sotheby’s sale, will have to pay premiums of 25% on lots going under the hammer for less than $200,000, 20% for lots between $200,000 and $3 million, and 12% for lots that sell for over $3 million*.

Bill Ruprecht justified the increase by saying, “This will improve Sotheby’s revenue [and] strengthen the company’s profit margins.” Yes, at their clients’ expense…

*Sotheby’s previous thresholds were: 25% for works under $100,000, 20% for works between $100,000 and $2 million, and 12% for works over $2 million.


Related Posts
Francis Bacon

Christie’s To Sell a Very Rare Work by Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon is a favourite with the art market. In 2013 his triptych of Lucian Freud was sold for $142


The United States Returns to Art Market Leadership, Followed Closely by China

At the start of the year all the reports indicated the same trend: that China had topped the art market


Sotheby’s To Include Latin-American Art in its Large Contemporary Sales

The large auction houses have been taking an increasing interest in Latin-American art over the past few years. Last January,

Max Beckmann christie's

Good Results For Christie’s in 2017

The auction house Christie’s has published its results for the first half of 2017. The figures are encouraging as sales

Two Records for Kandinsky at Sotheby’s

The auctions in London began on 21 June with an evening dedicated to Impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s. Following

Pin It on Pinterest