Using Art as Collateral? Learn More about Sotheby’s Financial Services

New York
Today we are with Madeline Lissner, Managing Director, Head of Sotheby’s Financial Services . Hopefully this conversation helps shed light on the myriad ways Sotheby’s Financial Services is uniquely equipped to aid clients with art-related financing solutions.

Q: Good morning, Madeline! For starters, what exactly is Sotheby’s Financial Services and what does it offer clients?
A: At its core, Sotheby’s Financial Services is an art financing company that provides clients with the ability to obtain a loan against items in their collection, including paintings, photographs, jewelry, sculptures and other works of art, furniture, and books.

Q: Can you elaborate on the specifics of how the process works?
A: As a first step, the prospective borrower provides Sotheby’s with the full details of the property to be considered as collateral, including description, medium, dimensions and high-resolution images so that our specialists can value the works. We consider the potential loan amount in relation to the aggregate low auction estimate that has been provided by the art specialists. We generally look to lend about 40-60% of this initial low auction estimate of the proposed collateral (40-60% loan-to-value ratio). This ratio will vary depending on the collateral under consideration. Most of our loans are structured as one-year loans, renewable for a second year.

Q: Once the deal terms are set, are clients able to keep the works in their homes?
A: This is a frequent question we hear from private collectors. It largely depends on the jurisdiction whether the client can maintain possession of the item, and it’s a key point we discuss with clients throughout the process.

Q: I’m sure at this point most people will be wondering: what is it about Sotheby’s Financial Services that sets it apart from other more traditional lenders?
A: Great question. Put simply, our industry-specific experience and wide portfolio of available resources are what allows Sotheby’s Financial Services to arrange truly bespoke financing solutions for our clients. Sotheby’s Financial Services has almost 30 years of experience in art lending, a world-class roster of in-house art specialists, cutting-edge knowledge of the international art market, and offices across 80 locations in 40 countries worldwide. Moreover, since we are focused on the client’s collection rather than their financial circumstances, we can offer loans discreetly and with unparalleled speed. This allows us to be more nimble than conventional lenders.

Q: To wrap up, what is the best way to get in touch with Sotheby’s Financial Services?
A: You can reach Sotheby’s Financial Services at any of the following phone numbers: New York +1 (212) 894-1130, London +44 (0) 207 293 6006, Hong Kong, +852 2822 8188. We also respond to any inquiries sent to the following email address: It was a pleasure speaking with you!

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