Sotheby's

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.


Parker & Stalker’s very rare Treatise on Japanning and Varnishing

13 December 2001

The earliest book in English on the subject, and described by H.D. Molesworth in his introduction to a 1960 reprint as “a work of art in its own right... as readily accepted for its literary content as for its technical information”, George Parker and John Stalker’s Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing... was the book that effectively introduced the process to Western craftsmen and one that had, as a consequence, a dramatic effect on decorative styles and fashions.

Trade await European ruling over price fixing

11 December 2001

Pending appeals leave compensation in limbo: With the conviction of Sotheby’s chief shareholder, Alfred Taubman, on price-fixing charges, attention now turns to the outstanding matters concerning compensation.

Lost and found in the salerooms

05 December 2001

When Sotheby’s sold Joan Stephens’ collection of samplers and needlework in New York in 1997, the second most expensive lot, at $90,000, was an English needlework picture initialled EP, and dated 1746.

Reynolds sells for £9.4m

03 December 2001

A new world auction record for Sir Joshua Reynolds was achieved at Sotheby’s on November 29 when the oil on canvas Portrait of Omai sold for £9,400,500 (plus 20/15/10 per cent buyer’s premium).

Taubman not fully in control of Sotheby’s say witnesses

03 December 2001

Former Sotheby’s chairman Alfred Taubman fell asleep during board meetings and was more concerned with getting his lunch than running his company, a New York jury was told last week.

Sotheby’s make history as they launch France’s open market

30 November 2001

Basic buyer’s premium almost doubles: On the rainswept evening of November 29 in Paris, as the tricolor fluttered proudly over the Elysée Palace and Christmas lights twinkled on the Champs-Elysées, history was made as Sotheby’s became the first foreign auctioneers ever to sell in France – exploding a monopoly dating back to 1556.

Texas sale is $7.7m big

28 November 2001

AUCTIONEERS Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium) combined with New York dealers Stacks to auction the Dallas Bank collection of United States coins on October 29-30.

Northeastern promise

28 November 2001

Individual entries consigned to Sotheby’s and Christie’s Chinese sales were an encouraging reminder to any jaded dealer that if you look hard enough and long enough, sleepers are still to be found.

Birthday gift yields £23,000 bonus

28 November 2001

Nothing is more certain to draw buyers in their droves than modestly estimated works from private collections. A single textile entry and two conservatively estimated porcelain collections did just that at Sotheby’s Olympia (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) inaugural Chinese Works of Art on November 16.

Taubman’s defence seeks to discredit Davidge and Brooks

26 November 2001

Counsel highlights undisputed lies: The most dramatic episode yet in the trial of Alfred Taubman was played out in a New York court last week. The former boss of Sotheby’s was accused by his one-time protegé, Diana ‘Dede Brooks’, of forcing her into a criminal conspiracy with arch rival Christie’s. He denies any wrongdoing.

£80,000 double for T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf in the Frederick B. Adams sale

22 November 2001

The Frederick B. Adams Jnr. library of English & American Literature was sold by Sotheby’s on November 6 and 7. The second day was devoted entirely to Adams’ magnificent Thomas Hardy collection, but among the highlights of the general sale was an inscribed presentation copy of the 1923, first English edition of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, illustrated right, that sold at a higher than expected £80,000 to Peter Harrington.

Exceptional Ruhlmann piece that proved the exception to the rule

21 November 2001

DECO & MODERNIST FURNITURE: While much of higher-end Deco struggled to find buyers prepared to match the bullish levels seen in recent seasons, there was still some interest in this field, and the odd exception to buck the trend.

Sotheby’s results point to market fall says Ruprecht

21 November 2001

SOTHEBY’S Holdings Inc, the auction house’s parent company, have announced third quarter revenues for 2001 of $38.4m and a net loss for the period of $33m.

Davidge points finger at Taubman

20 November 2001

FORMER Christie’s managing director Christopher Davidge has told the jury in the Alfred Taubman trial that Sotheby’s ex-chairman was involved in the illegal price-fixing between the two auction houses.

US appeals delay compensation as Taubman faces the jury

09 November 2001

As Sotheby’s ex-boss Alfred Taubman faced a New York jury last week on criminal charges of fixing vendors premiums with Christie’s, there was still no sign of money owed to dealers in the related civil law suit that was settled in April. The reason? Two US appeals.

Lower estimates bring higher bids and a Parthénis record

08 November 2001

Just like the following week’s 20th Century Italian sales, Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium) October 18 inaugural theme sale exclusively devoted to Greek art notched up selling rates that belied the pessimism prevailing in so many other sectors of the market.

Qianlong (1736-95) mark and period dragon vase

05 November 2001

Early Qing imperial porcelain has long been the darling of the Hong Kong Chinese auctions so when a Qianlong (1736-95) mark and period dragon vase with a previously unpublished pattern came up at Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium), Hong Kong on October 29, sparks flew and an auction record was set for a piece of Qianlong porcelain.

Paris auctions open up at last

30 October 2001

FRANCE: After a long and frustrating delay, Sotheby’s and Christie’s finally got the official go-ahead late last week to conduct auctions in France. They were among the first four auction houses to receive a licence from the French Conseil des Ventes on October 25 and both houses swiftly announced details of their inaugural sales to be held later this year.

Rediscovered Leighton offered on sothebys.com

24 October 2001

SOTHEBYS.COM are offering a rare portrait by Frederick Lord Leighton, which has been discovered in the estate of a collector from Indiana in the United States.

Strasbourg faience quells the nightmare

24 October 2001

Sotheby’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) move to Olympia was accompanied by a rethink of auction selling categories. Their general ceramic and glass sales have been split into smaller specialised European ceramics, British ceramics and glass auctions each to be held tri-annually at Olympia.

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