Auction Stratosphere

This has been a dizzying week for auction-going collectors as prices for contemporary weeks have reached record highs.

The sale of Edvard Munch's "Scream" set the tone for a spring auction fever which has continued full steam into the contemporary market. Billionaire collectors from emerging Asian markets are only adding fuel to the fire.

Log onto our homepage AK Files, via the link above, to see some record prices achieved this week for Warhol, Basquiat, and other lesser known artists. It seems that, at least for the time being, there is no limit to money chasing important artworks.

Of course, with all the economic turmoil in Europe -- added to uncertainty in the American economic and political spheres -- parking your capital in a canvas which can be rolled up in a valise, or a sculpture concealed in a backpack, may be the most discrete way of wealth conservation and transport.

Not to mention, customs bureaus do not typically impose duty on imported artworks.

In addition to the stratospheric prices now achieved, what strikes us as most bizarre is the continued habit of American auction houses employing foreign auctioneers.

In France, you can rely upon the "commissaire priseur" to gleefully bang down the auction hammer. In England, some stodgy bloke always renders the final adjudication.

Only in the United States -- with Sotheby's and Christies the worst culprits of all -- must one endure foreign inflections from the podium.

We guess they think that some rich Texan or Connecticut hedge fund guru will feel even more ennobled by buying an American work in U.S. dollars at a Manhattan venue from some fellow fresh out of Heathrow Terminal 5.

Today's homepage Featured Video offers a brief glimpse of the world's worst auctioneer. Log on for a laugh.

Bidding you Sunday fun,


p.s.: Do not forget to call your Mom for Mother's Day. As she collected and curated you!