High Value and Luxury Assets

Buying and Selling Fine Art

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High Value and Luxury Assets >> Buying and Selling Fine Art

Not only are beautiful works of art wonderful to look at, enhancing your residence and providing an excellent conversation opener, they also serve as solid investments and an excellent way to diversify / expand your existing investment portfolio.

Having the necessary knowledge and intuition to purchase pieces from up and coming artists as well as more mature contemporary and classical works offers a shrewd investor the opportunity to make strong returns with often minimal outlay.

Fact: Although classical pieces can sell for millions of pounds, contemporary and modern art from 1875 onwards currently makes up nearly 70% of the global art trade.

At Saracens Solicitors, we have the expertise to manage the legalities of any sale or purchase. We will advise you as to the best avenues for buying or selling different works as well as conducting correct due diligence to establish the authentication of the artist and the originality of the artwork.

Buying and Selling Fine Art at Auction

Buying and selling art at auction houses such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips and Bonham’s requires experience and acumen during the auction process, as well as solid legal due diligence performed by competent, knowledgeable lawyers. This must all be undertaken before auction day to ensure any significant financial outlay is spent on an original and genuine artwork.

We can assist you at the pre-auction stage when buying art by examining the catalogue and advising you on the research you will need to conduct before the auction begins to protect your interests.

If you are selling at auction, our commercial team will advise you on the listing information you will need to provide and guide you through your legal obligations after a successful sale has been made. As you liaise with auction houses and / or private dealers, you will need to consider:

  • Arranging for independent valuations to ascertain fair market value
  • Arranging for the art to be photographed and catalogued
  • Ensuring that your art is securely transported, exhibited, housed and insured
  • Ensuring that you obtain the necessary import / export licenses where necessary

With Saracens you can rest assured that all factors needing consideration will be covered. We are also experienced in managing cases where works of art are wrongly described or grossly undersold by an auctioneer, and can therefore assist you in perusing a claim for the tort of negligence or breach of contract, against the auction house in question.

Ownership Structure

As with most high value assets, a prudent buyer should seek advice and consider the various ownership structures before purchasing the asset in order to minimise liability generally and in respect of tax.

Buying and Selling Fine Art Privately

If you choose to buy or sell works of art privately, or through an art dealer, we can assist with the contractual legalities of the sale and purchase as well as the due diligence to ensure authenticity of the work.

Fine Art Funds

As the name suggests, fine art funds are privately offered investment funds which generate returns through the purchasing and selling of fine art. Although these funds are still in their relative infancy, with sound legal advice and due diligence checks our solicitors can provide the necessary comfort to protect your legal position.

If you would like further information regarding the law surrounding the sale and purchase of fine art – please phone our London office on +44 (0) 20 3588 3500 to speak directly to one of our solicitors, or request a call back and we will contact you.

We instructed Saracens’ litigation team in a sensitive matter in the hope that it would be…

Bob Paxman Chief Executive Talking2Minds
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