In the Financial Times today, Georgina Adam reports that there’s a new “game-changer in the field of auctioneering” headed our way.
Fine Art Bourse, or FAB, is an online auction house founded by Australian Tim Goodman, formerly a major player in the Australian auction business, and has raised $2 million for the venture. It launches next month.
From the FT:
His company is based in “humble” (his words) premises in London’s Finsbury Park, and similarly low-cost offices will be opened in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing over the next 18 months. Consultant specialists around the world — there are already 21, a number Goodman says will grow to 60 by this summer — will source, value and catalogue the works, with just a small team of executives running the company. And there will be no weighty catalogues thudding on to doormats: “It is ridiculous, they cost a fortune and are terrible for the environment.”
These economies will enable FAB to offer pared-down fees of just 5 per cent to buyers and sellers, plus 1 per cent for insurance and a flat charge of $330 for photography, cataloguing and so on ($1,000 for items worth more than $100,000). The auctions will be run out of Hong Kong (“No sales tax, no resale royalty, no copyright fees”); buyers can browse offerings online and then have a 30-second window to bid. The firm offers a five-year money-back guarantee in case of problems.
Sounds feasible, but then what doesn’t these days? Goodman joins Paddle 8, Artnet, Auctionata, eBay, and Sotheby’s in trying to reinvent the online auction game (and I think I’m probably forgetting a few).