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On organizing a sequential auction: results from a natural experiment by Christie's


  • Victor Ginsburgh
  • Jan C. van Ours


In empirical studies of sequential auctions of identical objects prices have been found to decline. We study three ascending price auctions of ancient Chinese porcelain recovered from shipwrecks, in which there are very long sequences of lots containing the same number of identical objects. In the three auctions different setups were used. We exploit these 'natural experiments' to examine whether some sequences generate more revenue than others. Our results point to the fact that a sequence of lots each of which contains the same numbers of items generates more revenue than lots with varying numbers of items. We also find that over a sequence of lots hammer prices decline and converge to some limit value, which is larger than the pre-sale estimate in the first two sales, and is equal to the pre-sale estimate in the third one. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Ginsburgh & Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "On organizing a sequential auction: results from a natural experiment by Christie's," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-15, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:59:y:2007:i:1:p:1-15

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    Cited by:

    1. Sofia Izquierdo Sanchez & Maria Navarro Paniagua, 2017. "Hollywood’s Wage Structure and Discrimination," Working Papers 152465718, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    2. Dakshina Garfield De Silva & Marina Gertsberg & Georgia Kosmopoulou & Rachel Pownall, 2017. "Dealer Networks in the World of Art," Working Papers 198144199, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

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