What Happens When Bidders Fail To Pay?

In November, the work Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan bid for, Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi (around 1500), went on to make a record-shattering $450.3m and was bought by Abu Dhabi with the prince acting as a middleman, but why did all the bidders on the high-value work need a special paddle? Quite simply because Christie’s wanted to be sure the final buyer would pay up. Such high-profile prices rightly make auction houses wary when it comes to payment. One of the first public cases was of Van Gogh’s Irises sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1987 for $53.9m—the highest price ever paid at auction for a painting at the time—to the Australian businessman Alan Bond. But he could not pay, and Sotheby’s had to lend him around half the purchase price, later brokering its sale to the Getty Museum. More about broke bidders here.

Leave a Comment