Here is a post that I had apparently left on draft for over 6 months:

I suppose I should have written down my thoughts on Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction right after the event, but for what I have narrowed down to a couple of reasons, I procrastinated.  The more practical one is that we had such horrible weather that day, the 9th of December.  If not for the fact that I had gone to the viewing two days earlier and was quite intrigued by the selection of pieces that were going to be put up, I would not have braved heading out more times than was absolutely necessary.  The auction was also not as glamorous a scene in comparison to the other auctions I have been to, or even half as chic as the exhibition for it.  There were no regally dressed women, none of the fashion-forward younger crowd, because as can be expected, New Yorkers can be quite pragmatic about dressing for the weather.   A uniform of Hunter boots (I was in a navy blue pair myself), Arche water resistant boots, and other such footwear complemented the parade of trench coats from the small fraction of people who managed to attend.  Leaving Sotheby’s was also a bit of an ordeal with everyone clamoring for cabs, that I did not have the energy to actually put pen to paper (or in actuality, type on my laptop) later that evening.

The other reason is that I had decided before attending to make a list of my top 5 pieces, but as is usually the case when it comes to jewelry, my greedy eye had the best of me, and I marked more than double that number.  I eventually edited down to 10 pieces that are either classic, regal items that I would love to have worn in the Regency era, or more ironic, interesting pieces that suit my personality (not that I would currently be able to afford any of them, but it never hurts to dream ).

First time at the auctions

December 13, 2009

We were lucky enough to get invited to attend our first Sotheby’s auction in mid-November with a party from a gallery I used to work for on the Upper East Side.  Having only seen these formal auctions in movies, we were of course excited to go.

Apparently, the people who attend these auctions do not really dress as formally as portrayed in films. There were no gloves, no evening gowns, and no tuxes.  There was however free flowing champagne. And there were exorbitant amounts of money offered very coolly for items with sale prices (or hammer prices, as they are termed at auctions) that are determined by how many people on the auction floor, or on the phones, want to walk away with them.

Being a newbie, I read each the description and estimate price listed in the catalog for each lot.  And then watched as the bidding, for the most part, reached the high estimate price and then quickly pass it.  If this is how the art market is in such dismal economic times, I wondered how much more money would change hands if we were not in a recession.  The Camargo sculpture pictured here for example, sold at $1.35M, three times the high estimate price of $450K. I had to struggle to keep my mouth from hanging open as the bids skyrocketed for about ten minutes.  It was quite an exciting evening, although the critics wrote the next day that it was not at all a great auction by their standards, and that Christie’s, although they did a bit better, also was not spectacular.  As for us, we are happy to start following the market at this stage.  If the tales are true about art being so much more lucrative a couple of years ago, we may have had a coronary at our first live auction, as we watch what to us is the value of a couple of homes, thrown at a things that will hang on the wall.