The ‘FT’ Crunches the Numbers on Constable

john constable the lock 0081 The FT Crunches the Numbers on Constable

“The Lock.” (Courtesy The Guardian)

Next week John Constable’s The Lock (1824) will head to the auction block at Christie’s where it’s expected to sell for between $31 million and $39 million, which sounds like a clear-cut profit over its previous sale price of $16.8 million.

Not so, the Financial Times reminds us. Between insurance, inflation and a variety of other costs, it needs to sell for much higher than that for the seller to make a profit. Caveats:

It is also important to stress that many of the figures on which our results are based are, necessarily, only estimates. We do not know the details of insurance costs, for instance, or the details of the buyer’s premium in 1990 and (future) seller’s commission. However, the details of inflation rates, opportunity costs such as loss of potential interest and other elements are solid.

So, all told, the point at which the owner makes a profit is $93 million, according to their calculations.