New York City repeals rules governing auction houses

Article 20 May 2022 Experience: Art

As the spring art auction season in New York City draws to a close, we wanted to note New York City’s repeal and sunsetting of the rules that governed auctioneers and the City’s upcoming repeal of its auctioneer licensing requirements that goes into effect June 15, 2022. The rules that New York recently repealed were designed to provide more transparency in auctions and required auction houses to comply with certain requirements including:

  • Licensing obligations
  • Written consignment contracts containing mandated disclosures (such as the amount of the auctioneer’s commissions and charges, and a consignor’s representation of good title)
  • Auction catalogue disclosures (such as that an item was being sold subject to a reserve, or that the auction house had a financial interest/guaranteed minimum in the sale, or if a consignor would be bidding on its consigned lot)
  • A responsibility on auctioneers to publish truthful statements in catalogues and other sale materials

Some auction houses have signalled a willingness to act as though the regulations are still in place in the interest of promoting transparency, at least temporarily, in the market. As we look ahead to fall art auction season, we will be monitoring whether that willingness will continue, and the general effect of the repeals on the art market.

Here please find a link to the repealed rules for reference.