Collingridge, who began his career in 1944 during the Second World War, was a jewellery and silver specialist and trained several current auction house leaders including Ed Dolman, now chairman and CEO of Phillips and Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president.
He also trained Nic McElhatton, chairman of CSK, who said: “It was with great sadness that I heard the news of Jim’s passing last Saturday (June 3). ‘Gentleman Jim’ was a kind and generous colleague at Christie’s, respected and admired by all the staff and his many clients.
“I’ll forever be grateful to him for giving me the opportunity, and great honour of becoming a Christie’s auctioneer way back in 1993. Jim Collingridge will be dearly missed by the many staff still here that would have known him. Our sincere condolences go to Jim’s family and friends.”
Collingridge began his auction career in 1944 as a junior at Debenham Storr & Sons. “I didn’t even know it was an auction house when I turned up for the job,” he quipped as he retired in 2000 after 56 years in the business.
He remained with the company through its various incarnations and was established as its head of silver and jewellery by 1975 when the firm, then known as Debenham Coe, was taken over to become Christie’s South Kensington under the chairmanship of the late Bill Brooks.
Rising to become deputy chairman of CSK in the late 1980s, Collingridge continued to take silver and jewellery sales, appearing as a jewellery specialist on the BBC’s Antique Roadshow through the late 1990s and early noughties.
His final auction in 2001 finished in style. As the hammer fell on the last lot, CSK staff, who had gathered for the occasion, toasted him with champagne amidst flying streamers.
Christie’s is due to close its much-loved CSK branch on Old Brompton Road on July 29.
An obituary will appear in a later issue of ATG