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Explaining The Breadth Of Expert Estimate Ranges In Auctions Of Rare Books

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  • STUART KELLS

Abstract

This paper uses data from 3144 rare book auctions to study the breadth of auctioneers’ estimate ranges. The ‘information hypothesis’ proposes that wider ranges reflect greater uncertainty. The ‘reserve hypothesis’ proposes that a narrower range indicates a higher reserve price. The information hypothesis is tested by seeing whether estimate breadths are related to the presence of greater information about likely prices. The reserve hypothesis is tested by seeing whether narrower estimate ranges predict ‘no sales’. Evidence is found in support of the information hypothesis but not the reserve hypothesis. The paper identifies differences between the auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s in the estimate strategies they adopt.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuart Kells, 2003. "Explaining The Breadth Of Expert Estimate Ranges In Auctions Of Rare Books," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 873, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:873
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    File URL: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/wpapers-03/873.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stuart Kells, 2002. "The Australian Book Auction Records," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 830, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Flavio Menezes & Paulo Monteiro, 2003. "Synergies and price trends in sequential auctions," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 8(1), pages 85-98, August.
    3. Jane Black & David de Meza, 1992. "Systematic Price Differences Between Successive Auctionsare no Anomaly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 607-628, December.
    4. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-286, July.
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    7. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
    8. Alan Beggs & Kathryn Graddy, 1997. "Declining Values and the Afternoon Effect: Evidence from Art Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 544-565, Autumn.
    9. BAUWENS, Luc & GINSBURGH, Victor, 2000. "Art experts and auctions are pre-sale estimates unbiased and fully informative?," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1485, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    10. Lusht, Kenneth M, 1994. "Order and Price in a Sequential Auction," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 259-266, May.
    11. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    12. Victor Ginsburgh & Pierre-Michel Menger, 1996. "Economics of the arts: selected essays," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1655, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    13. Engelbrecht-Wiggans, Richard, 1994. "Sequential auctions of stochastically equivalent objects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 87-90.
    14. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
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