“… A recent item in this column about the pitfalls of buying art at cruise-ship auctions has hit a raw nerve with Sydney art consultant and valuer David Hulme. He says he has dealt with a procession of people over the years who have paid high prices at sea, only to find later that the works were worth far less than claimed.
A Sydney cruise passenger who paid a 10 per cent deposit on a painting that the shipboard auctioneer valued at $ 22,000, has since asked for Hulme’s valuation. He told her the work wasn’t worth much more than the deposit. The woman has refused to pay the balance and is still trying to recover her deposit.
Hulme says that almost every time he has valued art bought at sea, he has found the price paid is far higher than the market value.
“I don’t have a problem with sellers putting whatever price they want to on a work,” he says. “What I object to is when there are false claims made about the real value of that work, particularly when buyeres don’t have the means to undertake an appraisal, or have someone undertake it on their behalf.”