BA Auctions (int'l art galleries) is no longer operating as of recently, seized of art auctions on board P&O aussie ships. Fact! unfortunately they have had customer fullfillment issues and problems with qualified A/D's and proper stock to sell.
The company is in funding trouble or otherwise not making enough revenues to cover cost of operating and many staff have been laid off in the last month. I was a formal auction manager with the company until I resigned at end of June this year. I have no malice against them personally or Ira Shore, I left on my own but it seems that the business is falling apart or restructuring into something else. Many formal BAA staff unemployed from the Florida offices.
The Whitewall operation sounds on the Up & Up - what do you all know about them, anything?
Hi Paul, Whitewall have art galleries on board where you can buy art at displayed costs. They do not have auctions, which is good and bad - after all where-else can you get free 'champagne' on wet days at sea
We do have a few pieces that we've bought in auction on board, but that was purely because we liked them. Even if they suddenly became insanely valuable, we still wouldn't part with them - go on, offer me $million & prove me wrong
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Despite my misgivings if you like it & think it is good value ..why not? we saw one picture we just loved, it was in an auction & thought I would pay a couple of hundred for that....started at £3k !!! so I took a photo of it & printed it off.
Some answer questions...I also question answers
Yes, I do mean ceased, sorry for the mis wording. And A/D just short for Art Director. Whitewall is based in the UK and have a quality line of product and have kept clean and decent thus far. They recently have been finding there market back into the cruise industry but staying in check and subtaining a decent product and program. There land gallery shows in the UK have had much success. I only can comment on them a little bit as they are not the mammoth companies as Park West, Global FA, BA Auctions, etc. controlling the multiple cruise markets.
I really feel for the guest that have been let down and decieved. Many of these AD or Art Auctioneers across the board have been conditioned to sell in this way by operations people who within these companies like my formal employers, BAA really have no experience in auctions, art, marketing, entertaining and good buisness ethics. Sorry to say this, but most of these people who get into this position are really looking to move up in the cruise line chain of command. I am a licensed Florida Auctioneer myself, know the art dealing buisness, logistics, education and entertainment portion as well, but just after all the years I've seen with BA Auctions, than the buy out to International Art Galleries I could not stay with this anymore. You have to remember also the cruise lines get a big percentage of the art sales revenue and the targets are just too high and un- realistic in this current market, so product has to be marked up 3x and you have the cost of framing, shipping, overhead with the vendor. So this art auction at sea industry is struggling to exist now.
Not to mention finding the proper and sharp sales staff and giving the training that is needed for the every changing market. My advice to anyone who enjoy attending the auctions and like to buy is just make a decision on how much your willing to spend on a image that you really find unique or want to add to your collection but keep it in prospective. Go and talk to the AD before and after the live auctions and peg them and see if they know about certain works, what it is, retail value, etc., than research on the internet, get some prices, try to cut a deal out of the auction. And never believe that your order will be shipped out before 4 weeks, especially if it's a original CP one of a kind that they have to offload.
I am afraid though lnternational Art Galleries, is not the upstanding company it may try to present itself and they only have Celebrity Cruises left but they are having major customer issues now and it could be ready for the plugged to be pulled on those ships as well. So I would caution anyone to purchase art while on Celebrity at this time because you may never get it? Feel free to ask me any other questions regarding the buisness. I am happy to give any members insight.
Cruise liner's art auctions leave investors all at sea
This article mentions a man named Ira Shore by name. It is well-known that this man is the same person who ran British-American auctions (and the article says he ran British Australian for P&O).
According to sources, he was also the same person who ran the company that provided auctioneers to Park West Galleries - which PWG only used so they could claim a level of separation between themselves and the A/Ds onboard ships. In other words, if things got dicey with any particular sale, PWG could say "well, that auctioneer didn't work for us, he was an independent contractor."
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Does anyone know if Ira Shore (Britsh American Auctions), now running Ira Shore's Internation Art Galleries is still in operation on P&O ships?
BA went bankrupt and Ira Shore took the best of the art from their warehouse and fled back to CA leaving thousands of cruise line art buyers who will never receive the art they bought. I know this because I worked for BA on P&O
The Art Directors got screwed too, we had no idea what was going on.