#14 Art Auctions

Anyone who knows me really well will know that there’s nothing I love more than sitting, observing, and (occasionally) bidding in a fine arts auction. I’d love to do a lot more of the latter, but my fiscal resources restrict me somewhat. Ok lotswhat.

My appetite for auctions was whetted like many people’s these days – on the internet. When trademe (New Zealand’s answer to EBay) started up, I’d be on there for hours a day bidding against people for things I didn’t even know I needed until I saw them onscreen. There are a couple of problems with online auctions though. Firstly, money doesn’t seem real when it’s not exchanged in real life. This is actually a major problem with buying just about anything online. Secondly, you really have to hunt online to find something good, and you can never wholly guarantee anything you’re buying.

My love for art auctions started a little less than a year ago. I happened to move into an apartment that’s right next door to a real life auction house! About a week after I’d moved in, I started hearing about a pop culture auction that was going to be on, so when it came about, off I went. I was quite nervous when I first got there, and quite intimidated by how sure of themselves everyone else looked – I’ve long since realised that this is merely a veneer. To cut a long story short, I had a blast and came out of it with a mint condition Pop Swatch Watch and some other frivolous items – bought in the heat of the moment. A couple of weeks later there was an art auction there and once again, off I went. Let me tell you there’s nothing more exciting than watching a proper fine arts auction – not just in seeing the artworks in real life, but to watch the bidding wars and the exorbitant amounts of money people will drop on a single painting! I saw a guy walk away with a particular work for $85,000. I was instantly hooked. Imagine the feeling going to a major auction and seeing someone bidding $85,000,000!

Since then, I’ve made it my business to go to as many art auctions as I can, and a few months ago I had the pleasure of buying a few pieces for my parents and grandmother. Simultaneously one of the more exciting and frightening moments of my life.

I’d recommend the experience to everyone of you. It’s as exciting as going to a boxing match, without the blood, but possibly more sweat and tears. And best of all – watching’s free.

share on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter


  1. sheda says

    so was it $85,000 or $85 million? not that it really matters to me… but anyway, sounds like fun! and i have enough problems with ebay so i think i should stay away from art auctions. BUT if i’m in nyc at the same time as you i’d gladly come along and sit on my hands the whole time :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *