Last March 14, Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Salcedo Auction‘s Important Philippine Art Auction that was held at the NEX Tower. There were around 202 items that were to be auctioned, and many of the works of the great masters were up for auction. My father was a great lover of art, and so am I. So you must understand my excitement of being able to participate in such an auction for the first time.
Here were my 10 takeaways from joining the Salcedo Auctions:
1. The Salcedo Auction office was beautiful — Very modern and chic, and a perfect blow-your mind-away venue for a memorable auction.
How can you not be impressed if you were greeted by this beautiful lobby?
After going in the main door, the security guard will direct you to a long corridor. It was very surreal. Especially for a first timer who did not know what to expect, I was awed by the layout and decor of the building.
At the end of the corridor, you had to board an elevator up to the second floor, where the Salcedo Auction office was located. The office occupied the entire floor, displaying all the arts and pieces in their glory, and giving you an exciting taste of what the auction. A colorful Malang greeted you by the front door:
Just for your reference, this 2007 Malang entitled “Family” which was 32″ x 32″ sold later at the auction for a whopping Php 8.17 million. Phew!
2. If you are a buyer or a person who appreciates art, I highly recommend you to go to the preview.
The preview starts a week before the auction and gives you the chance to view the pieces at a more leisurely pace and to take down notes on the types of pieces you’re most interested in.
Salcedo Auctions gave me this nicely bound book for you to browse and make notes with. I really appreciated this during the preview and the auction.
Here’s the content of the 165-pager:
I went that Tuesday afternoon, and checked out every piece in close detail. A Salcedo Auction representative was always close by to answer all your questions, but if you wanted the privacy, you could ask them to leave you be while you look around the area. If you are planning to buy, I highly recommend that you go to the preview before the auction day.
On display here is the HR Ocampo’s Cells (28″ x 22″, Oil in Canvas) which sold at Php 3.27 million. Right on its right are Ang Kiukok’s Trees (12″ x 14″, Oil on Canvas, sold at Php 1.63 million) and Fernando Armosolo’s River Washers (11.5″ x 15.5″, Oil in Canvas, sold at auction for Php 2.92 Million).
3. It was surprisingly super easy to join.
All you have to do is fill up a form, pay Php 10,000 either by cash or check and you were good to go. The money is refundable, but is also deducted to the cost of your purchase if in case you successfully bid for an item.
In exchange for the form and Php 10,000, you were given a paddle. Mine was paddle number 556.
There was already a crowd when I arrived.
4. While at the preview, take down as many notes as you can and already make a mental estimate on how much you will bid on your favorites.
You really have to see it closely before you bid on it. Especially for women like me who have a bad sense of measurement, it’s better to take a look for yourself first before you bid. Take for example this Lee Aguinaldo piece that’s estimated to be worth Php 1.6 million to Php 1.9 million. Personally, the price for me is reasonable for the artist, but you still have to be careful about the size since this is a mere 24″ x 24″ SMALL.
So you have to take a look not only at the artist’s name but also their medium, year of painting, and style. This Lao Lianben for example is a watercolor on paper. Entitled “Geisha 1,” this Lao was a relatively huge 1980 painting at 29.5″ x 21.5″ that was estimated at Phhp 85,000 but later sold at Php 467,200.
This other Lao was slightly bigger at 30″ x 48″ but was Oil, Plaster with Canvas Burlaps on Wood. This later sold at Php 2.8 million, 6x the price of the watercolor:
Compare this to my favorite Lao, this 1981 Acrylic, Rice Paper on Canvas that was made on 1981 and was sized 72″ x 36″, this beauty sold at a Php 4.67 million, around the estimate given by the auction house.
Maybe since it was my first time, I took down notes more than usual and picked the following favorites. As you can see, I am a big fan of Lao Lianben, Zalameda, Arturo Luz, and Juvenal Sanso. There was a Joya there too at a still reasonable Php 160,000 to Php 180,000 estimate:
5. If you are an art lover, set a budget for yourself and stick to it.
When you are at the auction, the fast pace and excitement of the proceedings may cause you to bid more than you should without you expecting to do so. Art can be very subjective, so you might find yourself bidding double your initial budget, much to your great chagrin.
Take for example these three Justin Nyuda pieces which were all 30″ x 35″ in height, all Oil on Canvas that were painted in 2020, and are estimated at Php 1.2 million to Php 1.6 million. Proceeds of these paintings were given to the Kythe Foundation, which helps cancer stricken kids, but you have to imagine the thought process that goes through the mind of a bidder when the first one (blue green, Michelli) goes for Php 1,985,600, the second one (orange, Dennis) goes for Php 2.1 million, the third one (purple, Charity) went for the same price of Php 1,985,600.
And the last one, Brian, was sold for an eye-boggling Php 2,978,400! That’s a million more than the other paintings!
Mind you, I know this is for charity and now is not the time to be stingy, but heck, with all paintings being equal, the last painting sold for Php 1 million more just because the buyer maybe wanted to help the Kythe Foundation, or maybe it’s just because the buyer simply had enough money to do so and just wanted the painting for his home.
6. Don’t get too stuck on one painting. As my mother said, “If it’s for you, it’s for you. If it’s not for you, don’t chase it. Let it go.”
Art buying could be very subjective. For example, the same Oscar Zalameda pieces turned out to have two different prices sold at auction. While both had the same size at 36″ x 30″, the prices were different. This undated Zalameda for example sold for Php 759,200:
Meanwhile, this undated Oscar Zalameda, Oil on Canvas sold for a whopping Php 1.4 million, almost double the price of the first one:
What was the difference?
Was one painting better painted than the other?
Both were undated and had no title. The colors were personally for me equally brilliant. I personally liked the women working with the flowers better as they coincide better with our company colors. However, the price decided on the auction mainly depended on the buyer themselves — 1) The buyer’s love for a painting, and 2) Their willingness to pay the bid amount, no matter how high it was, just because they could.
Personally, I was too chicken to even consider anything beyond a million. But the buyer in front of me really liked the fisherman concept and kept on bidding. I think she also won the small Kiukok crucifix painting so they were good choices. I felt that she was me, if only I had more money, so I clapped once she won her winnings and was truly happy for her.
Still my main point sticks — If you don’t have a strict budget in mind, you may have a tendency to overbid and chase after a painting at a high cost, even though it’s technically not worth it.
Personally, before coming into the auction, I knew the budget I had in mind and stuck with this budget. While there were a lot of paintings that I loved (as you can see in my favorites above), I knew buying an earlier painting at a high rate diminishes my chance of me affording to buy another painting later on bid, even if I loved the other painting more.
7. Remember, if you are too excited and bid early for a piece, unless you have an unlimited budget, you may not have enough money later on to buy a piece that you like better. So bid with care.
Take for example this Nena Saguil watercolor that’s 24″ x 29″ that eventually sold at Php 198,560, if I took this painting home, I would never could have afforded this Jose Joya (Pastel on paper, 20″ x 13″), which I liked better at Php 169,360, assuming that my only budget was Php 200,000:
8. You have to be fast, or the piece can go to somebody else!
There was a Manansala painting that sold for a relatively cheap Php 876,000 because the other bidder just was not fast enough. I said cheap because the estimate price was Php 1.2 Million.
If you like it, you bid for it. Stop hesitating too long, otherwise, somebody else might get it.
9. Respect the rules of the auction house.
First, you have to come on time. I arrived at 2:15pm, and the show has already started. The auction starts promptly on the dot.
Two, once you buy, you have to consider the commission cost of 16.8% that’s added to the bid price. So if you bid for Php 145,000, you are not really paying just Php 145,000. The actual billing cost is Php 169,360.
Three, you have to pay within 3 days of auction. Deposit to the Salcedo Auctions bank account. Pickup must be made with your own arrangement and is not included in the price.
10. Lastly, even if you do not have the money, you can still join the auction to appreciate some of the Philippines’ greatest art. Even participating at the auction is an experience by itself.
I could not afford almost all of the paintings on auction. So I could only check out these following paintings with envy since they were beyond my price range. While I’m a great lover of art, I am not at the point yet where I can drop the price of a condominium unit for a painting, no matter how beautiful it is.
This baby, Kiukok’s Man (39″ x 35″, Oil on Canvas) sold for Php 12.84 million. What a beauty!
Salcedo Auctions also sold a few nice artifacts, jewelry and timepieces so there’s something for everyone. This Maximo Viola 10-seater dining table in balayong and kamagong with chairs was estimated to be around Php 750,000-950,000, but actually sold at Php 4.67 million.
Watch lovers will find a few timepieces something to salivate over. This beautiful Patek Philippe, Advanced Research Aquanaut Travel Time Limited Edition of 500 timepieces which was estimated at Php 7 million, actually sold at ₱9.34 million.
Selected sale highlights taken from the Salcedo Auction’s Facebook Page:
1. Mauro Malang Santos, ‘Family’ – ₱8,176,000
2. Justin Nuyda, four original ‘Search Mindscape’ paintings raised a total of ₱7,750,000 for the benefit of Kythe Foundation
3. Ang Kiukok, ‘Man’ – ₱12,848,000
4. Patek Philippe, Advanced Research Aquanaut Travel Time Limited Edition of 500 timepieces – ₱9,344,000
5. Arturo Luz, ’Nikko Revisited’ – ₱5,956,800
6. Elmer Borlongan, ‘Untitled (Man with Headphone)’ – ₱5,022,400
7. Máximo Viola, A very rare and exceptional 10-seater dining table in balayong and kamagong with chairs – ₱4,672,000
8. Cesar Legaspi, ‘Untitled’ – ₱3,854,400
9. Mark Justiniani, ‘On the Brink’ – ₱3,036,800
10. Anita Magsaysay-Ho, ‘Untitled (Women with Baskets and Mangoes)’ – ₱1,168,000
Overall, it was such an amazing experience especially if you are an avid lover of arts, watches, and luxury items. Congrats to the Salcedo Auctions for an amazing show, and if you can, feel free to join them in their next auction this June 2020.