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Art auctions draw fewer bidders, prices drop

Turnover at art auctions in Hungary has been halved from an annual HUF 10 billion before the crisis as the number of bidders has dropped, daily Népszabadság said on Monday.

The Judit Virág Gallery sold almost HUF 400 million of art at an auction in May, but hammer prices were only about 30% higher than the starting prices, the gallery's namesake told the paper. Earlier, hammer prices climbed about 80% over the starting price, Virág said.

Csaba Nagyházi, who owns another of Budapest's big galleries, was more optimistic, reporting a pick-up in interest and higher turnover at the gallery.

The Kieselbach Gallery has not held an auction since December 2008, the paper noted. Tamás Kieselbach's partner in the business, Gábor Einspach, told the paper the gallery is preparing for the autumn season, but whether or not an auction will be held would depend on the ongoing renovation of the gallery's showroom. (MTI-Econews)