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The Sale of Misattributed Artworks and Antiques at Auction

Anne L. Bandle

The glamour and mystery of the art auction, gathering interested buyers from across the globe, makes it one of the most fascinating marketplaces in existence. ‘Sleepers’, artworks or antiques that have been undervalued and mislabelled due to an expert’s oversight and consequently undersold, appear regularly. This fascinating new book provides the first extensive study of the phenomenon of sleepers through an in-depth analysis of the contractual relationships, liability and remedies that arise in the context of auction sales.
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Appendix 1: Model terms

Anne L. Bandle


Auction houses may adopt an authenticity guarantee in the consignors’ favour by adding a term in their standard consignment agreement along the lines of the example below. The draft model terms take into account the conclusions reached in this study and attempt to reduce or avoid the current regime’s drawbacks. The proposed terms are based on the authenticity guarantee clause for purchasers.

[AH] warrants for a period of five years from the date of the auction sale that the property offered for sale is authentic as described in this catalogue or corrected by a saleroom notice. “Authentic” means that the property is by the creator, date or period of creation, and has the provenance as stated in this catalogue or the saleroom notice without qualification. If [AH] sells a lot which after the sale is shown to be misattributed, [AH] will compensate the consignor under this warranty of authenticity. This warranty of authenticity is subject to the following terms:

Auction houses may adopt an ADR process in the event of a dispute with their consignors (and purchasers) by adding a term in their standard consignment agreement along the lines of the example below. The model terms distinguish between, on the one hand, Switzerland and England, and on the other hand, the United States. The latter terms are more straightforward than the former, as a result of the differences in the national procedural laws.2 They are based on existing ADR terms binding the purchaser. The terms formalise...

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