VAT: Discerning or Sophisticated.

When we purchase something we are in fact purchasing two things, the thing and its price. The discerning buyer knows that. The sophisticated buyer does not.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold for $450.3 million on November 15, 2017 at Christie’s.

The discerning buyer, by definition, has good judgement. The sophisticated buyer has a great deal of worldly experience and knowledge of fashion and culture. However, the sophisticated buyer, as implied by the root of the word sophisticated, is a sucker for sophism, a specious argument used for deceiving someone.

An artwork is not worth much beyond its current cost of production when we can’t tell a genuine historical artwork from its facsimile as they both provide us with the same visual experience. That an artwork is rare, important and whatever are just magic words that levitate its price as high as the sky in an imaginary world. That’s called buying with our ears not our eyes.