Art Experts and Auctions: Are Pre-Sale Estimates Unbiased and Fully Informative?

Recherches Economiques de Louvain/Louvain Economic Review, Vol. 66, pp. 131-144, 2000

14 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2006

See all articles by Luc Bauwens

Luc Bauwens

Université catholique de Louvain

Victor A. Ginsburgh

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Abstract

Public sales art catalogues include low and high pre-sale price estimates by experts. This makes it possible to analyze whether pre-sale estimates are unbiased predictors of realized prices. Unbiasedness is tested using a sample of some 1,600 lots of English silver auctioned by Christie's and Sotheby's. Results show that estimates are slightly (but significantly) biased and that experts do not use all the information that is available to them when they make their estimates.

Keywords: auctions, pre-sale price estimate, unbiasedness

JEL Classification: C24, D44

Suggested Citation

Bauwens, Luc and Ginsburgh, Victor A., Art Experts and Auctions: Are Pre-Sale Estimates Unbiased and Fully Informative?. Recherches Economiques de Louvain/Louvain Economic Review, Vol. 66, pp. 131-144, 2000, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=884256

Luc Bauwens (Contact Author)

Université catholique de Louvain ( email )

CORE
34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium
32 10 474321 (Phone)
32 10 474301 (Fax)

Victor A. Ginsburgh

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium
+32 2 650 3846 (Phone)
+32 2 650 4012 (Fax)

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+32 2 650 3839/4 (Phone)
+32 2 650 3595 (Fax)

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