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What does it take to buy and sell successfully at auction? This course offers an insider’s perspective on the thrilling, fast-paced world of art auctions, taking students behind the scenes to learn from top professionals at one of the world’s premier auction houses. The course will examine such questions as, who are the key players in an auction house and what do they do? What are the different factors that determine the price of art, and how are values assigned? How has the internet changed the role of auctions in today’s art market? By the end of the course, students will master such concepts as commissions, reserves, guarantees, and irrevocable bids. Perfect for aspiring collectors, dealers, or the simply curious, this course will enable students to approach art auctions with the knowledge and confidence necessary to succeed.

What you will learn:

  • How to evaluate the opportunities, challenges, and risks posed by buying and selling at auction, including how to analyze auction results
  • How values are assigned and prices are determined
  • The legal, financial, and technical aspects involved in buying and selling art
  • The changes introduced by e-commerce and how digital platforms are changing the auction business
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    3 July - 30 July 2019
    4 weeks of instructor guidance

    We offer our online courses throughout the year with sessions starting every 4-6 weeks.
  • Faculty


    Maria Sancho-Arroyo, Faculty, Online Courses, MA Art Business

    Maria brings over 25 years of international experience in the art world, first at museums – National Museum of Catalan Art, MNAC, in Barcelona and at the Louvre in Paris- then at Sotheby’s Auction House in London. During her time at Sotheby’s, she gained experience in all aspects of the auction world with a focus on business and client development. She has participated in numerous auctions and worked closely with all Sotheby’s European offices. Maria has given lectures on art market trends at the London Sotheby’s institute and is a regular contributor to the “Giornale dell’Arte”, the Italian edition of the Art newspaper. She is involved with charitable organisations and has contributed to the development of the Palazzo Strozzi foundation in Florence (Italy) by organising fundraising events in London. Maria is fluent in Spanish, Italian, French and English and is currently teaching the Auction Business course within the MA in Art Business.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: An Overview of Art Auctions

    • A brief history of art auctions

    • The key terminology and concepts associated with art auctions

    • Understanding different ways of bidding

    • Global and regional markets

    • Who’s who in the saleroom: the auctioneer

    • Auction House interview

    Week 2: Inside the Auction House

    • Selling the sale: tips for buyers and sellers

    • Attracting consignments: sourcing and the famous 3 D’s

    • Pricing: authenticity and other factors that determine price

    • Understanding reserves

    • Inside the catalogue

    • At the preview

    • Who’s who behind the scenes: the specialist

    • Auction House interview

    Week 3: Understanding the Art of the Sale

    • Buyer premiums and vendor commissions

    • Guarantees, irrevocable bids, & hammer share

    • Art as an asset class: loans

    • Who’s who with the contracts: the art lawyer

    • Auction House interview

    Week 4:  The Internet Revolution

    • Benefits and challenges of the online revolution: what is the future?

    • Different models: buying online at traditional sales

    • New companies: buying online only

    • New technologies: blockchain

    • Who’s who online: the digital market

    • Auction House interview

  • Getting Started

    Getting Started

    SIA Online Community, our learning and networking space, opens two weeks before the course begins. This space provides an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the learning platform and introduce yourself to fellow students from around the world.
  • Course Fees And Enrollment

    Course Fees And Enrollment


    Tuition includes 4 weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.

    Terms and Conditions

    Online courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.

    Enroll Today
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    For each course successfully completed, you receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Successful completion is defined by each instructor in the course syllabus and consists, at the least, of regular, thoughtful participation in online activities and timely submission of assigned papers or projects.
  • Contact Information

    Contact Information

    For further information or course advisement, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor, Non-Degree Programs
    Tel: 212-897-6644 or Request Information

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