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As of September 22, Sotheby's had posted $1.37bn (39.9% of the global total) at auction in London, compared to $1.23bn (35.9%) in the United States.

Asian sales added another $488.4m (14.2%), while continental Europe contributed $344.1m (10%), giving a global total so far in 2014 of $3.44bn.

UK auctions also performed considerably better against expectations than their US counterparts, achieving 99.7% against a combined high estimate for the period of $1.375bn compared to an 80% performance against a combined high estimate of $1.54bn Stateside.

Sotheby's are not expected to release the full set of third quarter figures for another few weeks and advise that the totals released here are not directly comparable with the same periods in prior years because they are not aggregated using the exact same information.

The figures do not include auction after-sales, private sales, dealer sales or cancelled sales.