Some dude named Albert Rabizadeh won the $400,000 bid for this silly-looking 19th-century Russian silver and enamel box at a small, upstate auction house you’ve never heard of for some reason. He then refused to pay his invoice, claiming that since the real name of the item’s seller was not on the contract, the contract is invalid. The dick move really worried Sotheby’s and Christie’s, because a legal ruling in Rabizadeh’s favor could potentially vastly impact the major auction houses’ traditional practice of speculating percentages on anonymous people selling very expensive things to each other.
Yesterday, New York Court of Appeals ruled that Rabizadeh had to cough up the $400,000 and the art market could go on as they were, without having to reveal the real identities of the sellers, as long as they cosign sales with the auction house’s actual name.
The court made sure to point that Rabizadeh was indeed a dick and only started the bureaucratic clusterfuck ”as a means of evading a just obligation” to ”avoid the consequences of his actions.”
This is all, of course, very boring. It is a major milestone in the economic practices of people with a lot more money than you will ever have upon which much of the art world power structure hinges, but it is all very, very boring.
So let’s pretend that Rabizadeh bid $400,000 on this silly-looking 19th-century Russian silver and enamel box for some riveting, dramatic reasons. It was, after all, est. at $4,000-$6,000. Something drove this man to bid 100 times its estimated worth! Something dark. Something secret. Also, cinematic. Something interesting in some way.