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Engaging Consignment Services to Sell a Noteworthy Art Collection at Auction

Patrons viewing artwork


A couple with a substantial art collection—worth tens of millions of dollars—had been in the process of estate planning with a wealth strategist. When the wife passed away unexpectedly, the husband was determined to simplify his affairs by selling their collection of modern art. His Bank of America Private Bank wealth strategist introduced him to the Art Services group to discuss various disposition options.


The Art Services group suggested that selling the art at auction could be a solution to raise cash for the client. However, approaching an auction house directly could result in significant seller fees as well as a standard auction listing, which would not have done the impressive collection justice. Therefore, to help the client attract some of the best potential buyers and competitive auction prices, the Art Services group recommended that he take advantage of Bank of America Private Bank's Consignment Services.

  • The group’s knowledge of the art market, combined with a consignment agreement with several auction houses, allowed our client to access preferred pricing and other services to significantly enhance his net profit from the sale.
  • The team orchestrated conversations with top auction houses to lay out the objectives of the sale and gauge interest.
  • For the top two lots being sold, our client requested a guarantee—a payment for the works even if the reserve price was not met.
  • For the remaining lots, the Art Services group asked that our client receive an enhanced hammer deal, eliminating seller’s fees on the lots. In addition, we proposed that he collect a portion of the buyer’s premium.


After reviewing the offers from the three auction houses with his advisor, the client chose the one providing the most advantageous package.

  • The arrangement guaranteed $8 million for each of the top two lots with an upside split: any amount above $8 million would be divided so the client received 75%.
  • The auction house also eliminated seller’s fees on the remaining lots, while also providing an additional 8% of the hammer price (known as an “enhanced hammer”) for our client.
  • It also was agreed that the auction house would strategically market the collection with videos, a special catalogue, a dedicated sale landing page, and a special tour of the works in Paris and San Francisco.


By working with her her private client advisor and a team of art specialists, our client:

  • Took advantage of Bank of America Private Bank’s relationships with auction houses to secure a favorable contract from an auction leader.
  • Saved significantly on fees as compared to going directly to an auction house.
  • Connected with an audience of buyers who appreciated the collection, which may have led to overall higher bids and profits.


imagine, illuminate and inspire

At Bank of America, we believe in the power of the arts to help economies thrive, educate and enrich societies, and create greater cultural understanding. That's why we are a leader in helping the arts flourish across the globe, supporting more than 2,000 nonprofit cultural institutions each year.

Our arts support is wide ranging. We believe the neighborhood playhouse can be as important as the world-class museum or orchestra in its value to the community, in the lives of its citizens and in the education of its young people. A key component of our arts program is to help nonprofit institutions illuminate varied cultural traditions and to help the arts sector create pathways for more diverse employment and engagement.

The Bank of America Art Program is part of the company's commitment to grow responsibly while bringing value to economies, society and the communities we serve.

To learn more about our arts support, please visit

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