Auctions

Table of Contents


Introduction

Auctions are a very common way for art objects to change ownership. The description of the auction itself is valuable for historical context and to provide a sense of the changing value of the object.

Auction

An auction (aat:300054751) is an activity which is performed by an organization, and for art objects typically takes place at an auction house (aat:300005234). It (typically) consists of many sets of objects being sold in separate sales to the highest bidder, called Lots described below. The Auction description contains the information about the overall event (who, where, when) and references the sub-events in which the sales of the lots take place via part.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/32", 
  "type": "Activity", 
  "label": "Example Auction in London 1875-03-12,13", 
  "classified_as": ["aat:300054751"], 
  "took_place_at": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/place/10", 
      "type": "Place", 
      "label": "Auction House, London", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300005234"]
    }
  ], 
  "timespan": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/14", 
    "type": "TimeSpan", 
    "label": "12th and 13th of March, 1875", 
    "end_of_the_end": "1875-03-14T00:00:00Z", 
    "begin_of_the_begin": "1875-03-12T00:00:00Z"
  }, 
  "part": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/33", 
      "type": "Activity", 
      "label": "Auction of Lot 1"
    }
  ], 
  "carried_out_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/group/16", 
      "type": "Group", 
      "label": "Auction Company"
    }
  ]
}

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Sale of Lot

The sale of the Lot is an activity that can be carried out by one or more Auctioneers (aat:300025208), though if the individual is not known, the company that performs the parent Auction can be inferred. The sale is for a specific object of the Lot, which is always a collection even if there is only one object being sold. The activity is further subdivided into two major sections -- the activity of the crowd of bidding, and the purchase of the Lot by the winner. Typically the details of individual bids are not known, but often whether any bids occured or not is known. Bidding without a purchase might occur if the reserve price was not met, for example. Note that the purchase is an Acquisition with the aat:300077989 classification.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/34", 
  "type": "Activity", 
  "label": "Auction of Lot J-1823-5", 
  "used_specific_object": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/set/17", 
      "type": "Aggregation", 
      "label": "Set of Objects for Lot J-1823-5"
    }
  ], 
  "part": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/35", 
      "type": "Acquisition", 
      "label": "Purchase of Lot", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300077989"]
    }, 
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/36", 
      "type": "Activity", 
      "label": "Bids made on Lot", 
      "occurs_before": ["https://linked.art/example/activity/35"]
    }
  ], 
  "carried_out_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/24", 
      "type": "Person", 
      "label": "Example Auctioneer", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300025208"]
    }
  ]
}

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Set of Objects

The Lot is a set of objects (aat:300411307) grouped together for the purposes of the sale, and may have come from different owners. Information that is frequently known about the lot includes an identifying Lot Number (aat:300404628) assigned by the organization performing the auction and the objects that are part of it. Other Lot specific information includes prices, which are discussed in further detail below.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/set/18", 
  "type": "Aggregation", 
  "label": "Set of Objects for Lot 812", 
  "identified_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/identifier/10", 
      "type": "Identifier", 
      "value": "812", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300404628"]
    }
  ], 
  "aggregates": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/70", 
      "type": "ManMadeObject", 
      "label": "Example Painting", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300033618","aat:300133025"]
    }
  ]
}

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Purchase

The purchase of the lot is very similar to the purchase of any other object, however in order to ensure consistency, the individual transfers of ownership are explicitly stated as further child activities. As the lot is just the grouping of the objects together for the purposes of the auction, it doesn't make sense to transfer ownership of it, as the grouping is only for the purpose of the auction.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/37", 
  "type": "Acquisition", 
  "classified_as": ["aat:300077989"], 
  "used_specific_object": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/set/19", 
      "type": "Aggregation", 
      "label": "Set of Objects"
    }
  ], 
  "part": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/38", 
      "type": "Acquisition", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300077989"], 
      "transferred_title_from": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/8", 
          "type": "Actor", 
          "label": "Seller"
        }
      ], 
      "transferred_title_to": [
        {"id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/9","type": "Actor","label": "Buyer"}
      ], 
      "transferred_title_of": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/71", 
          "type": "ManMadeObject", 
          "label": "Example Painting", 
          "classified_as": ["aat:300033618","aat:300133025"]
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Monetary Values

In Auctions, there are several types of monetary values that are useful and interesting to record. There is a significant distinction, however, between the starting price or reserve price for an auction and the regular purchase price of an object, in that even if the auction never takes place, these other prices are still known as they are set in advance.

Pre-set Prices

There are three preset prices of interest:

These prices are associated with the Set of Objects that the Lot is intended to sell. In this way, even if the auction never takes place, there is still the set of objects to associate the prices with. In order to associate a monetary value with an object, it is treated as an observed dimension.

For example, a lot with a starting price of $500, a reserve price of $3000 and an estimated price of $4000:

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/set/20", 
  "type": "Aggregation", 
  "label": "Set of Objects for Lot 812", 
  "identified_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/identifier/11", 
      "type": "Identifier", 
      "value": "812", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300404628"]
    }
  ], 
  "aggregates": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/72", 
      "type": "ManMadeObject", 
      "label": "Example Painting", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300033618"]
    }
  ], 
  "dimension": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/money/4", 
      "type": "MonetaryAmount", 
      "value": 500, 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300417242"], 
      "currency": "https://linked.art/example/money/5"
    }, 
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/money/6", 
      "type": "MonetaryAmount", 
      "value": 4000, 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300417244"], 
      "currency": "https://linked.art/example/money/5"
    }, 
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/money/7", 
      "type": "MonetaryAmount", 
      "value": 3000, 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300417243"], 
      "currency": "https://linked.art/example/money/5"
    }
  ]
}

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Purchase / Hammer Price

The purchase price follows the same pattern as for purchases outside of auctions. It is the amount paid as part of the purchase. There is typically a single purchase price for the lot, rather than each object having an individual value, and as such the Payment is associated with the purchase of the Lot resource. Thus, if the interest is calculating the value of the individual objects over time, the number of objects in the Lot should be taken into account. This information might be duplicated on the purchase of the object, in the situation where there is per-object price information, which should take precedence.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/39", 
  "type": "Acquisition", 
  "classified_as": ["aat:300077989"], 
  "used_specific_object": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/set/21", 
      "type": "Aggregation", 
      "label": "Set of Objects"
    }
  ], 
  "part": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/40", 
      "type": "Acquisition", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300077989"], 
      "transferred_title_from": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/10", 
          "type": "Actor", 
          "label": "Seller"
        }
      ], 
      "transferred_title_to": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/11", 
          "type": "Actor", 
          "label": "Buyer"
        }
      ], 
      "transferred_title_of": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/73", 
          "type": "ManMadeObject", 
          "label": "Example Painting", 
          "classified_as": ["aat:300033618","aat:300133025"]
        }
      ]
    }, 
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/41", 
      "type": "Payment", 
      "paid_amount": {
        "id": "https://linked.art/example/money/8", 
        "type": "MonetaryAmount", 
        "value": 4500, 
        "currency": "https://linked.art/example/money/9"
      }, 
      "paid_from": ["https://linked.art/example/actor/11"], 
      "paid_to": ["https://linked.art/example/actor/10"]
    }
  ]
}

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Known Bid Amounts

Sometimes we also know the monetary amounts that were unsuccessfully bid for the object, regardless of whether the auction eventually ended in a sale or not. These bids are part of the overall bidding activity.

Bids are modeled as the creation of a proposition that the bidder (or the person that an agent is bidding on behalf of) will pay a certain amount of money for the object. In the example below, a known bid is $10,000 but it is not stated whether there was a sale concluded.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/42", 
  "type": "Activity", 
  "label": "Auction of Lot J-1823-5", 
  "used_specific_object": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/set/22", 
      "type": "Aggregation", 
      "label": "Set of Objects for Lot J-1823-5"
    }
  ], 
  "part": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/43", 
      "type": "Activity", 
      "label": "Bids made on Lot", 
      "part": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/Creation/8", 
          "type": "Creation", 
          "classified_as": ["aat:300054602"], 
          "created": [
            {
              "id": "https://linked.art/example/PropositionalObject/1", 
              "type": "PropositionalObject", 
              "refers_to": [
                {
                  "id": "https://linked.art/example/money/10", 
                  "type": "MonetaryAmount", 
                  "value": 10000, 
                  "currency": "https://linked.art/example/money/11"
                }
              ]
            }
          ], 
          "carried_out_by": [
            {
              "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/26", 
              "type": "Person", 
              "label": "Example Bidder"
            }
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ], 
  "carried_out_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/25", 
      "type": "Person", 
      "label": "Example Auctioneer", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300025208"]
    }
  ]
}

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Auction Catalog

Much of the information we have about historical auctions comes from Auction Catalogs (aat:300026068). These documents thus provide the primary source of evidence, and can be linked to the descriptions of the activities. These follow the same model as other documents with the added AAT concept for being an auction catalog.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/text/26", 
  "type": "LinguisticObject", 
  "label": "Auction Catalog of Example Auction", 
  "classified_as": ["aat:300026068"], 
  "refers_to": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/44", 
      "type": "Activity", 
      "label": "Example Auction, 1924", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300054751"]
    }
  ], 
  "part": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/text/27", 
      "type": "LinguisticObject", 
      "label": "Description of Lot 16", 
      "refers_to": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/45", 
          "type": "Activity", 
          "label": "Auction of Lot 16"
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/set/23", 
          "type": "Aggregation", 
          "label": "Lot 16"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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