Monday, March 14, 2016

Hammer horror

Webb’s must curse the day they decided to load their auctions with fancy names. Differentiation strategies are ok when you can deliver the goods, but a big fat pain in the neck when you can't. Take the upcoming Webb's April auction that has been trotted out under the 'Paramount' banner. The catalogue has been published online so who could resist shaking the numbers to figure out what's Paramount means in Webb's speak? Not us. 

The fact is only two of the 117 works on offer have low estimates over $40,000. Even if you add up the high estimates on these two they'd only hammer down at $245,000. That wouldn’t have bought you a major work by Bill Hammond five years ago. It’s true that works over $100,000 are rarer than they were back then but 'Paramount' ? To have less than 12 percent of your high estimates over $20,000 and 88 percent below $10,000 is well, certainly rather challenging to the meaning of the word. Can Webb’s recapture its old ground under new management? Looking at this latest catalogue it’s going to be a long, hard slog.