“A ‘ wild abstract painting ‘ bought at a garage sale and auctioned off over the Internet with a starting bid of 25 cents sold for $135,805 in a bidding frenzy by buyers hoping it was an undiscovered work by the late Richard Diebenkorn.” – MSNBC, May 10, 2000

Diebenkorn Debacle Provides Valuable Lesson for Online Sales

SAN JOSE, CAL. ( – An abstract painting for sale on eBay, supposedly bought at a garage sale, looked suspiciously like the work of the late California painter Richard Diebenkorn. Unwilling to risk missing out, buyers began a bidding war that ended when the price reached nearly $136,000. The problem was, it turned out the seller didn’t really buy the artwork at a garage sale; he had simply created that bit of history to add mystery to the sale.

The incident, while embarrassing, provided a valuable lesson for online auctioneers who, in the short time since the sale, have already adapted:

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