It's All in the Details

Would you pay cash for a Maserati and drive away without receiving a certificate of title? Let your uninsured nineteen-year old cousin drive it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Or leave it at a used-car lot hoping the dealer will sell it for you at a good cost? These are silly questions, of course. No sensible person would take such risks; a sensible person would demand proof of title, keep the keys far away from risky drivers, and have a clear, written agreement with the dealer. 

But what if we’re not talking about a Maserati; what if, instead, we’re talking about an ancient Chinese vase or a painting by Jackson Pollock? Such questions aren’t so silly then, because in the business of art, transactions have traditionally occurred on a handshake, with little attention given to details—details like provenance, insurance, or the precise terms of a consignment agreement. The lack of attention to such details can cause serious problems. 

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