Introduction: Problem statement and objectives of this book
The glamour and mystery of an art auction, gathering interested buyers from across the globe, make it one of the most fascinating marketplaces in existence. It is a place where rare collectibles and the works of world-famous artists are offered for sale; items which would otherwise only be displayed in well-established museums. The heated race to acquire the multi-million valued art ends in a matter of minutes, but the suspense and pressure generated by competitive bidding create a spectacular show for every observer. The success of art auction sales has democratised the market. Auction sales are no longer limited to a specific circle of collectors or to the art connoisseur. Instead, they have developed a global sale platform reaching experienced and non-experienced bidders, wherever the sales may take place, through the distribution of sales catalogues and through their websites. Commonly, art auction houses offer in-house or online valuation services whereby anyone can request an initial estimate appraisal for an item. The democratisation of auction sales has rendered the sale platform more accessible to all kinds of individuals. It has also exponentially increased the quantity and monetary value of transactions, thereby greatly contributing to the commodification of art.