The Easel

Christie’s Ups Buyer’s Premiums

In 1975, Christie’s (and Sotheby’s) charged a mere 10% “buyer’s premium” on art works sold. Art prices have since skyrocketed but so too have transaction charges. With yet another fee hike coming is this just the auction houses focusing on “high end” sales? Perhaps. But part of the explanation surely is the need for art – touted as an “asset class” – to be easily bought and sold. And who provides that valuable service? The auction houses.