There is at least one thing in everyone’s life to which they are price insensitive. Price insensitivity is an economic concept suggesting that the price does not affect the sales of a good. Several reasons are provided for this phenomenon, but one not highlighted by the “dismal science” — because it’s purely irrational and therefore outside its scope — is that everyone desires something without caring about its cost. They only consider if they possess the means to obtain it. Price becomes merely an obstacle rather than a reflection of value.
All of us have irrational lust of for some physical object — be it a yacht, a “Vacuna” Jacket, a bottle of Claret from the 1700s, or a Van Gogh painting. For the less affluent, it might be a handbag or a ‘souped up’ coupe. But from birth to death, everyone has at least one item they’d purchase without considering its price if they had the funds to cover the ticket.
August poses a challenge for those particularly affected by price insensitivity, as they often form the dedicated audience of auction houses — platforms showcasing the most coveted items where the price-oblivious gather to secure their obsessions’ pinnacle. These objects span various categories, including Jewelry, Art, Wine, Cars, Furniture, Memorabilia, Antiquities, Watches, Coins, Stamps, Whiskey, Handbags, and even, in today’s age, worn-out running shoes.
In summer, auction houses go dormant, only to revive in September, much to the anticipation of passionate collectors. As the season begins at HVMC, it heralds an African Art sale followed by a painting auction titled Lumières du Midi.
While many auction houses are yet to update their forthcoming events online, MDC Monaco, catering to the numismatically inclined, previews its October sales for those irresistibly drawn to ancient gold and silver.
Global auction giants like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Bonhams are already gearing up for the autumn. While they have auction rooms worldwide, from New York to Hong Kong, they will soon open doors to their Monaco-based clientele, offering previews of exquisite pieces set for auction elsewhere in the coming months.
Then there is the delight of the modern online auction where you can bid from you penthouse without lifting a finger, as a little press will do to bag that Impressionist or that case of DRC. Then you might sit up a little straighter when the auctioneer states, ‘the bid is with you Monaco.’ Hoping that this doesn’t invite competitors who might raise the price a few hundred thousand, you might think, “Let’s keep that quiet.”
As summer wanes and the heat subsides, a flurry of auctions will emerge, culminating in a festive crescendo. The price insensitive can load up with Christmas presents to themselves or surprises for their loved ones. Be it a Cryptopunk for the crypto cognoscenti, a rare Bugatti, a one-of-a-kind watch, or a Monet, the auction world is ready to shake off its summer hiatus and lay out the most fabulous trophies and Monaco remains a magnet for those to whom price is no barrier when seeking the perfect item.
1932 Lagonda 2-Litre Low Chassis Continental Tourer offered at the Beaulieu sale on September 2. Estimate £75,000 – £90,000.