Beware of Cruise Ship Art Auctions!

How many of you have purchased art aboard a cruise ship auction?  If you haven't, count yourself lucky!

Why?  Because these art auctions are nothing more than overpriced venues for moving virtually worthless art at inflated prices.  As a matter of fact, these art auctions are filled with reproduction artwork, most worth less than the paper they are printed on.  Really!

Being involved in the art, antique and framing industry for over 30 years, I have witnessed the lengths many related businesses go through to get people to buy their product or service.  This can amount to false promotions and discounts off inflated prices to allure the unsuspecting customer to part with their money on limited value or worthless art.

Perfect examples include these cruise ship art and fake sports and entertainment autograph auctions.  These industries see well into the billions of dollars thrown away on what I call "junk goods ".  Art work from popular artists or "signed" sports memorabilia are notorious for fakes and scams.  Check the FBI records for major busts of these operations.

Whatever the reason, it doesn't take much to encourage people to spend their hard earned money on overpriced or worthless goods and services.

The following are examples of my clients who have told me they have regretted buying these types of items without doing proper research.

One case involved a Baltimore,  Maryland couple who bought a lot of cruise ship we found later to be misrepresented and falsely valued by the promoters of the cruise ship art auctions.

Another time involved a good client who wanted me to re frame some "signed" sports photographs he purchased at a cruise ship auction.  We researched the source and found a tremendous amount of negative comments relating to the autographs being forgeries.

But, when you are on a vacation, drinking and having a leisurely great time on the ship, people can start getting a little bit careless with their money. Almost like the atmosphere in a casino.  Only with these auctions, there is no chance to really gain.

Although the art may be attractive and appealing on the surface, when more research is done or the frame is removed from the art, the truth becomes evident.  Depending on the price realized, the buyer ends up with an overpriced purchase.  The majority of the time, the art is a cheap mass produced reproduction.  Sad!

And, it has been shown that the vast majority of the artwork is worth FAR LESS than the purchase price.  Yes, I know that the operators produce a COA, but let's face it, isn't that a conflict of interest?   I mean, would you buy a used car from a dealer just because the manager says its the deal of the century?  Get the point?

I am not here to rain on people's parade, but I just think you need to understand that these venues are loaded with tricks and games used to motivate people to purchase their goods. Like Las Vegas, cruise ships produce great excitement with their activities, games, shows, casinos and their auctions.  People are having fun, relaxed and may even drink while attending an auction.

And, when people are in a mood of total excitement with a little booze in them, they get drawn in to the bidding.  People have brought their artwork to our studio to re-frame. After taking apart the frame, they are puzzled thinking the art object was a rare or original masterwork.  They notice the opposite.

You don't go to an art gallery to buy a cruise.  Why go on a cruise to buy art?

The bottom line is this.  If you have money to burn, want a "pretty" piece to hang on your wall and don't care about your art having any or little value, art auctions may be your choice.  Because, in the end, you will overpay for such artwork.

You work too hard to throw my money away. Cruise ships shouldn't allow companies to misrepresent their art leading to passengers being scammed! They know the atmosphere of fun, lights and excitement can hook people in.   Caveat Emptor!