How to sell $20 million in art? Rock, paper, scissors competition

When faced with deciding who should handle the auction of $20 million of art, Takashi Hashiyama, president of the Japanese electronics company Maspro Denkoh Corporation, turned to the age old game of rock, paper, scissors. Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s seemed equally qualified to handle the sale, so he told them to compete, and suggested the game.

In Japan, resorting to such games of chance is not unusual. “I sometimes use such methods when I cannot make a decision,” Mr. Hashiyama said in a telephone interview. “As both companies were equally good and I just could not choose one, I asked them to please decide between themselves and suggested to use such methods as rock, paper, scissors.”

. . .

“The client was very serious about this,” said Jonathan Rendell, a deputy chairman of Christie’s in America who was involved with the transaction. “So we were very serious about it, too.”

Kanae Ishibashi, the president of Christie’s in Japan, declined to discuss her preparations for the meeting. But her colleagues in New York said she spent the weekend researching the psychology of the game online and talking to friends, including Nicholas Maclean, the international director of Christie’s Impressionist and modern art department.

Mr. Maclean’s 11-year-old twins, Flora and Alice, turned out to be the experts Ms. Ishibashi was looking for. They play the game at school, Alice said, “practically every day.”

So who won? Well, naturally, it was the company who’s representative chose the better move. But since you probably want to know who that was, you’ll have to read the full article at the New York Times web site. (via DubiousQuality)

[tags]Game of Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine handler for $20 million art sale[/tags]