Costco Warehouses Adding Fine Art

By ABC News

Oct 8, 2012 8:27am

ABC News’ John Muller reports:

Costco is famous for stretching the dollar. From groceries to electronics, beauty supplies to sporting goods, the warehouse club retailer offers it all, and now it’s adding something else to its inventory: fine art.

Can you imagine getting a Matisse lithograph, or an Andy Warhol, just over $1,000 each?

Lots of people apparently have jumped at that chance. Since the pieces were listed on Costco’s website two weeks ago, they’ve all sold out, including Kiku, a Warhol print that was being offered for $1,349.99; the Matisse lithograph, Femme au Chapeau, for $1,049; and Figure by Georges Braque, for $1,549.99.

Costco keeps the costs below those of many art galleries by charging no more than 14 percent mark-up — the same maximum mark-up on all the other items it sells.

The artwork will join other luxury offerings at Costco, including fine jewelry and designer wedding dressings.

The sale of fine art is certainly not new to discount chains. In the 1970s, Sears offered Picassos, Rembrandts and Chagalls through its catalog.

Costco, too, has made a foray into the sales of fine art before, but it put a stop to that aspect of its operation when questions were raised about the authenticity of the some of the works it had sold.

The art comes with a certificate of authenticity and a money-back guarantee. Purchasers can get a full refund within 90 days of purchase.

Costco declined to comment to ABC News on Sunday.

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