August 20th, 2008 by admin
Connecting the Olympics to antiques seems like a bit of a stretch. The over 100 years of the existence of the games qualifies for that threshold definition of “antique”. But just like antiques you can have fakes. Fakes can be real or imagined and perception has a lot to do with it.
This year’s Olympics in Beijing have been nothing short of spectacular in the performance of the athletes and level of skill. The competition and quality of the various sports has been at the highest level I have ever seen since watching these games as a kid. Most of all, I believe the athletes are not using illegal substances to enhance their performance. Looking back to the last Olympics and others previously, I think there was abuse buy certain individuals and countries that supported the exploitation.
Cheating and denial of the use of these drug enhancers was motivated by the goal of being better than anyone else. Does the deception of the secret reserve in the auction bidding process not enhance the possibility of a better and higher price? That is the goal of the seller and the auctioneer as they collude to confuse and mislead a buyer. Sham bidding is the illegal steroid of choice for the auction game.
Fortunately, the sports world has come to the reality that drug enforcement and testing are not only necessary but required to be a part of participating in the games. Even the Congress of the United States had to convene a committee to publicly investigate alleged drug abuse in the great American pastime of baseball. What will it take to level the playing field at the auction venue?
The secrecy and deception of bidding practices perpetrated on the public at auction should not be an accepted practice. Class actions like the government’s antitrust case and fine against Sotheby’s and Christie’s were just temporary financial setbacks and did nothing to end their abusive methods.
If public auctions want the public to have faith and trust in their mode of business (not withstanding an onerous buyer’s premium) Federal government examination and intervention is the only procedure that can create an antidote for this disease. We need to have Sotheby’s and Christie’s like Rafael Palmero and Mark McGuire, publicly deny that they are on the up & up. After all when the games are played fairly, the quality of the sport will only get better and more credible.