Sotheby’s have been holding auctions since 1744.  Founded in London, where they moved into salerooms on Bond Street in 1917, Sotheby’s expanded to New York in 1955 and now have salerooms and offices around the world.

Sotheby’s offer specialist sales in over 70 different categories though four major salerooms, six smaller ones and through their online bidding platform BIDnow.

Seeger out takes

08 January 2003

Another instalment from the holdings of well-known collector Stanley J. Seeger went under the hammer at Sotheby’s Olympia rooms on December 13. This 352-lot offering, subtitled Out Takes, was a particularly eclectic selection, ranging from contemporary Venetian glass and tribal art to Middle Eastern pottery and Victorian chaises longues.

Terracotta bust of the Virgin and Child makes £3m

08 January 2003

European Works of Art: There was no real surprise about the star lot in Sotheby’s December 10 works of art sale. The piece that attracted plenty of attention at the pre-sale viewing and made far and away the highest price in the 177-lot gathering was this c.1520-25 terracotta bust of the Virgin and Child by Il Riccio, which, at £3m, singlehandedly accounted for two thirds of the auction’s entire £4.47m total.

Sotheby’s sell New York HQ to help clear debt

06 January 2003

Deal clears way for leaseback of building: Sotheby's will be able to clear up to $100m of debt – including their recent $20m European Commission fine – by selling their York Avenue headquarters in New York.

Rubens will go on public display

06 December 2002

Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents is to go on public display at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Lord Thomson of Fleet, who set a record for an Old Master painting at auction when he paid £45m for the work at Sotheby’s in London in July, announced that the painting would join nearly 2000 other works in his collection at the gallery after it completes a $315m renovation and expansion.

Russian buyers follow the trend when it comes to selectivity

06 December 2002

Russian Works of Art: ALTHOUGH like the silver sale that preceded it, the buying mood was selective for the 343 lots of Russian works of art offered by Sotheby’s Olympia on November 21, it still totalled a respectable £684,000 for the 215 lots that changed hands.

Another fine mess : Stanley’s marvellous eclecticism

06 December 2002

The name Stanley J. Seeger will be familiar to many art collectors and auction goers for there have already been no fewer than five auctions of his works of art and pictures since 1993, ranging from 88 works by Picasso sold in New York to Contemporary art in Milan and 18th-20th century British pictures in London.

Top-end Victorian art feels the pinch

02 December 2002

The market for high-value Victorian pictures took a downturn last week when Christie’s and Sotheby’s Important British Picture sales posted some worryingly high levels of bought-ins.

Dual effect of packed sales calendar

28 November 2002

The upside of Asian art in London is that the volume of sales pulls in all the Asian and international buyers. The downside of this concentration is that scheduling without overlap is difficult and buyers inevitably pick their way through all those goods selectively. Christie’s South Kensington, who fielded a marathon 600-plus lot Chinese auction on November 14, felt both effects.

Rare Staffordshire pearlware model of a camel fetched £27,000

28 November 2002

A private collection of Wood family Staffordshire pearlware figures was the main focus of a sale of British ceramics held by Sotheby’s Olympia on November 19.

Farmer’s dance image reaps a record at £480,000

28 November 2002

Korean Art: IT was the half dozen pieces of Korean works of art that rounded off the Japanese sale at Sotheby’s Olympia rooms on November 11 that provided the auctioneers with their sale highpoint in the form of this painting by Park Sookeun (1914-65), one the country’s most sought-after artists.

Hope springs eternal in Chinese ceramics

21 November 2002

The results of Hong Kong’s October Asian series underscored the increasing polarity in this market in which there seems no limit to collectors’ and dealers’ insatiable desire for the best Qing dynasty mark and period porcelain or quality Chinese works with good provenance, but little interest in more standard Oriental fare.

Venus rises, Wailing Wall tumbles

21 November 2002

Sotheby’s and Christie’s October sales of 19th Century European Art in New York told, or at least seemed to tell, very different stories of the current state of the market for high value Orientalist and genre painting.

Red granite bust sees estimate tripled

21 November 2002

Egyptian material is the current antiquities favourite, especially Egyptian sculpture, so perhaps it was no surprise to see just such a piece top Sotheby’s November 6 sale of antiquities from the Charterhouse collection.

Commercial mix and keen estimates help standard offering to high take-up

15 November 2002

There were no massed ranks of Prussian royal silver on offer at Sotheby’s Olympia (17.5/10% per cent buyer’s premium) on October 24. On offer here was a good 350-lot commercial mix of English and Continental fare from a variety of sources which netted £310,000.

Egyptians try to reverse sale over clause on profit

12 November 2002

Antiquities dealers could find their trade in legally exported artefacts threatened despite due diligence if the Egyptian government succeeds in reversing Sotheby’s sale of a granite bust of Ramses II.

Theft ‘insider’ claims dismissed

12 November 2002

UK: SOTHEBY’S have denied reported claims by a gang caught in possession of stolen antiques that they had an insider working at the auction house. The theft was highlighted after the arrests of four Romanians and one Kosovan last week during a police sting to uncover an alleged plot to kidnap the celebrity Victoria Beckham.

New York art sales beef up the market

11 November 2002

OF the three new world auction records taken at Christie’s Rockefeller Center saleroom on the evening of November 6, two of them were for pieces of sculpture. This follows on from Christie’s success in the May Impressionist and Modern sales, their best – as Sotheby’s were for them – for some time, when Constantin Brancusi’s 1913 bronze Danaïde took $16.5m (£11.6m), the highest price for any piece of sculpture sold at auction.

US price-fixing compensation can go ahead say courts

05 November 2002

EC fine Sotheby’s £13m – Christie’s escape penalty: THE US courts have given the go-ahead for compensation settlements to be paid in Sotheby’s and Christie’s $512m price fixing case. The green light came last week after the 90-day appeal period set by the US Supreme Court expired with no challenge to the ruling.

Pleased to do their duty by Nelson

30 October 2002

Few historic characters are guaranteed to generate more interest than the one-armed, one-eyed figure of Britain’s most celebrated admiral, Lord Nelson. Sotheby’s (19.5/10% buyer’s premium), Bond Street, 93-lot auction of Nelson memorabilia from the Alexander Davison collection sold on Trafalgar Day (October 21) to a room so packed that buyers had to spill over into an adjacent gallery.

Cattle market proves ‘bullish’

15 October 2002

THERE were cows aplenty, but only one beef, at Sotheby’s Olympia on Thursday night, when 60 bovine belles did their bit for charity. The high-profile heifers, whom you may have seen grazing the streets of London through the summer, were the first tranche of the Cow Parade sale – another 90 are due to be offered soon on the Internet.