Sotheby’s - a collector’s dream


Posted on May 3, 2021      153


Sotheby’s auction house is one of the oldest in the world, the date of its opening - March 11, 1744, and the first owner was a London bookseller Samuel Baker. Even today Sotheby’s, together with the auction house Christie’s, is the leader in the world market for antiques. These two companies account for about 90 percent of the turnover from the sale of antiquities.

For the first auction, Baker produced a catalog of rare books that were up for auction. Bibliophiles and representatives of the largest libraries in England rushed to London. At that time, to get here was not so easy. The auction was a kind of private club aimed at the aristocracy.

The auction house got its name from the nephew of the founder - John Sotheby’s. In 1778, when Samuel Baker died, he became a co-owner of the company, along with George Lee. Whereas previously the primary income came from book sales, now Sotheby’s began to actively trade in coins, paintings and other rarities that were in demand among antique dealers.

Sotheby’s annual turnover in the billions, and its major clients are members of the world financial elite. Buying a lot in this company is a sign that “life is good”. In addition, Antiques - reliable investment, antiques over the years only grow in value. In Britain rather loyal rules of export of masterpieces abroad, therefore, they are dispersed in the collections all over the world. Now, in contrast to the XVIII century, entry to auctions is free to everyone. If you do not have money to buy, you can just be a spectator.

I can't believe it, but in the early eighties of the twentieth century, Sotheby’s was on the verge of bankruptcy. Saved him the American entrepreneur Alfred Taubman, who bought the company. A few years later, the new owner got into trouble and spent nine months behind bars. He was accused of colluding with the owners of Christie’s, creating an antique monopoly: prices were set by the secret decision of the two giant companies. As of June.

2019, Sotheby’s is owned by French billionaire Patrick Drai.

For over 100 years, the address of Sotheby’s remains unchanged - London, New Bond 34/35. Here, in the capital's heart, the company moved from less prestigious Wellington Street. In 1955 a branch was opened in New York, then in several other major cities around the world.

Although all the things coming to auction are thoroughly examined, not without mistakes. For example, in 2011, it sold a painting by Dutch painter Frank Hals, “Portrait of the unknown. The buyer paid for it 8.5 million pounds sterling. A few years later, another examination was carried out, the results of which turned out that the painting is a fake. “Sotheby’s” admitted his own mistake and returned the money.

Currently, the oldest soccer club in the world is the English “Sheffield”, which was formed back in 1858. Soccer players have even tried to compile and write a set of soccer rules. And in the XXI century, this set of rules was auctioned at Sotheby’s. And it was bought for an enormous amount - 880,000 pounds sterling. Here, a wealthy connoisseur of soccer history wished to remain anonymous, even took part in the auction on the phone. The owners of the club Sheffield, who put up the lot at auction, were very pleased with the deal, saying that the proceeds will go to build a new stadium.

Two types of bidding are most common at auction. The first is English, which is used in most auctions. This includes Sotheby’s. Before the auction, the minimum price of the lot is announced, which increases because of competition between bidders.

Differently are traded on the Dutch rules. It is the other way around - the announced price is the maximum. If none of the participants showed interest, it declines. The owner of the lot becomes the one who intercepts it faster than others. In the age of computer technology, it is unnecessary to be in the room, you can use the Internet from anywhere in the world.


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