A client called me the other day to make an observation about the price of something in auction that he had been offered by a dealer. He did not buy it and the dealer has put the item into auction. The estimate is less than one tenth their asking price. The client is furious. This is awkward. One dealer commented that there was nothing to be gained by putting your name on things you sell in auction. I think he is right.
The question remains, however, what sort of a profit should the dealer make? Double, quadruple, ten or one hundred times, are any of these numbers fair? Frankly, none of them could be fair and all of them could be. It depends upon the item. If it is unique, a dealer can ask whatever he wants and if he is a good salesman and services the client well, most clients will be happy because they want the object more than they want their money.
There are a great many ethical concerns about money that have no answer in this society. Should very wealthy people earn more on savings than the average joe? They do. Should there be apartments worth one hundred million dollars? There are. Why should cost of living increases in leases be compounded? They quickly outstrip the cost of living increase. Should a ball player make twenty million dollars and is that the reason why a ticket to a ball game is so high? The questions are endless and unfortunately, there really aren’t any right or wrong answers to them. To take a quote from Kurt Vonnegut, “And so it goes.”