Sramana: You also get a lot of auction traffic from India. What do Indian’s buy?
Alexander Zacke: They buy pretty much everything except European furniture. They don’t really like it. They buy a lot of Indian art, miniatures, and contemporary Indian art. I see the same trend happen in Morocco, Argentina, Mexico, and Turkey, where artists of those nationalities get a lot of attention within their countries.
The crazy thing with the art world is that there are artists everywhere and nobody recognizes they are there. They are hiding in small galleries and they tour around. Someone will buy a painting and hang it in their apartment. A year later, they have forgotten the artist’s name. After 30 years, they die and their kids decide they want to learn about the painting because their parents liked it so much. They send it to us and we tell them everything about it, and often surprise them by telling them that the painting is worth $250,000. It’s funny because in a lot of cases they are often ready to give it away.
This is the reason that Auctionata has become so popular in the media in Germany. Just last week, a major TV station featured us on one of their shows. They have a hidden camera show that tests consumer services. This show was about people who have an estate that they need to clear out, and the pickers that come in and make offers on the estate items. They contacted us and asked us to put in some rare paintings to see if the pickers would make a fair offer. They had 20 pickers come through and not one of them identified any of the paintings. We had paintings worth $50,000 and others worth $250,000 on the wall. They were making offers like $50 or $100.
The pickers were rather surprised when they found out the actual art prices. That show demonstrated to the audience that you have to be really, really careful when you inherit something. You may inherit an estate with a lot of items, but just one painting may be worth more than the entire estate.
Sramana: I love this story. My husband is from Belgium and we have collected a lot of art.
Alexander Zacke: Then you know what I am talking about.
Sramana: Yes! I will be checking out your website as soon as we are done talking!
Alexander Zacke: One day, you will have to check out a live auction. We do them every Friday, 9 a.m. Pacific time. It would be interesting to login and watch the live stream. If you are in a German auction, you can switch to the English stream. It is a lot of fun to see that auction. We have art experts there explaining the art to the audience. It is interesting to see where the dealers are coming from. You will see the country flags for all the people who bid on pieces.
Sramana: Fantastic! I have really enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing.