Sotheby's®, the world’s oldest art auctioneer, was founded in London in 1744 by Samuel Baker for the sale of books. Within just a few years Sotheby's® were organising the sale of the era’s most illustrious libraries, among them Napoleon Bonaparte’s.
Following the Great War, Sotheby's® enlarged its activity to include the sale of engravings, medals and mintage, and moved to its world-renowned premises in New Bond Street. These are to this day the London Head Office of Sotheby's®.
With the move a new era began for Sotheby's® with sales figures for Art Work significantly exceeding those achieved through the sale of books. This diversification was to lead to Sotheby's® exponential growth in the 1960’s under the managemnt of Peter Wilson.
Peter Wilson was to propel Sotheby's® onto the international scene, with the company contributing significantly to the meteoric resurge in the passion for Impressionist and Modern Art.
In 1958 the most remarkable sale under his management was that of the renowned Goldschmidt collection which with seven works sold generated sales figures of £781,000 in just 21 minutes.
The highest total ever achieved for a fine art sale, it included amongst others Cézanne’s Le garçon au gilet rouge which was acquired by Paul Mellon for £220,000, some five times the previous record at a public auction sale.
This sale, the emblem of the Peter Wilson era, was the first of a series of most extraordinary sales of fine art .
A visionary, Peter Wilson had perceived well before his competitors that the market for fine art was going international. In 1955 he opened offices in New York, and some years later in 1964 acquired Parke-Bernet, the largest fine art auction house in the United States. With this acquisition Sotheby's® was to become the major player in the development of the North-American market for Impressionism and Modernism Sotheby's® continued to seize new opportunities, with new offices opening across the globe.
The sale of the century was undoubtedly the historic auction of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels on the banks of Lac Léman in 1987. Highly competitive bidding from collectors and celebrities across the globe raised a total of over 50,000,000 dollars, some five times more than Sotheby’s® most optimistic pre-sale estimates.
By the late 1980’s anything seemed possible, with the prices raised in auctions drawing intense media interest across the globe. In 1988 Sotheby’s® was to go public for the second time, with a truly stupendous year in 1989 with auctions in Impressionist and Modern Art in London and New York raising a staggering 1.1 billion dollars.
Sotheby's® not only weathered the storm of recession and recovery cycles but rather became stronger and greater at each step. Following the global economic crisis of the early 1990’s and during the twenty subsequent years, the growth of Sotheby's® seemed limitless.
Innovation combined with a remarkable aptitude to react to the needs of an ever-growing international clientele are Sotheby’s® trademark qualities. The quality of our expertise and customer service stand Sotheby’s® apart, and we consistently maintain a total respect for our customers’ tastes and requirements.
Sotheby’s® London and New York offices have developed significantly. New salesrooms have opened in London, and in New York six new floors offer further office and gallery space. The 10th floor of our New York offices today boasts “an environment rivalling almost all of the city’s museums, and one of New York’s most spectacular show rooms”.
Within the framework of an estimate for furnishings or Art Work, a team of Sotheby’s® specialists is at your service ready to meet with you at your convenience.
Each year Sotheby’s® organise over 350 sales, mainly in our New York, London and Paris offices but also in Hong-Kong, Geneva, Zurich, and Singapore. International sales calendar.
A month before the sale, catalogues are sent to our clients and presented in the Sotheby’s® Main Lobby. These include detailed descriptions of each lot, with their history, origin, reference and estimate.
These catalogues may be downloaded on our website (Sales calendar). A public showing of lots takes place 3 to 7 days before the auction. You may bid in person or complete the purchase order form on the back cover of the Sotheby’s® catalogue. These forms are also available via www.sothebys.com.
Purchasers may take possession of their lot directly at the Auction House or may if they wish have it delivered through a private carrier.
Cheques, bank transfers, Visa cards, Mastercards and cash (subject to restrictions) are accepted by Sotheby’s®. Tax may be applicable. For all details please contact Sotheby’s®.
Sotheby’s® take a buyer’s fee which is added to the winning bid, that is to say the adjudication price, and which is payable within the total cost.
In order to establish an estimate for furnishings or Art Work, contact our Sotheby’s® specialists to arrange a meeting at your convenience.
Sotheby’s® expertise covers an extensive range of categories: Impressionist, modern, contemporary, ancient, Western, African and Oceanian art, fine wine, jewellery, watches and furniture.
In order to auction your object, a Sotheby’s® expert will first give you an estimate. If you decide to proceed with the sale, a contract will be signed with Sotheby’s® who will take a photograph of the object in order to include it in the catalogue once a reserve price has been agreed.
The Sotheby’s® carrier service is available if you wish us to take charge of the transport of your object. Following the auction, you will be informed of the hammer price for each object, and within 35 days will receive payment.
A sales fee is deducted from the hammer price along with prior agreed fees.
You shall in agreement with the Sotheby’s® expert fix a reserve price prior to the sale. This price is the guaranteed bottom price for your object. If the reserve price is not attained at auction, the object remains unsold. Management costs may be applied in the case of unsold objects.
Payment shall be made within 35 days following the date of sale subject to Sotheby’s® having received total payment from the buyer.
Sotheby’s® provide legacy estimations within its inventory service. Sotheby’s® are recognised by the Internal Revenue Service, insurance companies and within the context of inheritance. A valuation includes a detailed description of objects as well as details of their value. For more information please contact the Sotheby’s® inventory service.
Pour plus de détails veuillez contacter le service inventaire de Sotheby's®
Sotheby’s® Institute of Art is Sotheby’s® private teaching establishment offering a wide choice of courses in Fine Arts and Decorative Arts in Europe, America and Hong Kong.
For more details contact the Sotheby’s® Institute of Art welcome page.
Sotheby’s® Financial Services allow you to use your collection as a guarantee. French legislation limits this loan faculty to auctions. For more details please consult the Sotheby's® Finance welcome page.
For more details, please go to the Sotheby's® Finance welcome page.
Sotheby’s® Diamonds is a partnership between Sotheby’s® and the Steinmetz Diamond Group. With the appointment of M. de Givenchy as artistic director, art and diamonds unite in a unique collection.
For more details contact the Sotheby’s® Diamonds welcome page.
In its Manhattan Upper East Side shop, Sotheby’s® is the sole auction house to present a wide range of exceptional wines. View online at www.sothebys.com.
Following the logical extension of our Fine Art service in 1976, the Sotheby’s® International Realty network was created to bring together the most exclusive realty agencies with the most distinguished clients.
Between 1976 and 2004, Sotheby’s® International Realty experimented with a range of business models: local company offices, exclusive affiliates, franchise offices.
Thanks to considerable investment and fundraising, the network has grown to become the world leader in luxury property in some 52 countries, with 700 offices at the present day.
In February 2004, resources were strengthened when a long-term strategic alliance was agreed between Sotheby's Holdings Inc and global service provider Realogy Corporation
With this agreement the name Sotheby’s International Realty was licensed. Offices were opened, and a luxury franchise standardising marketing and I.T. services merging client and realty databases was created .
At the end of 2004 the principal franchise for France and Monaco was bought by Sotheby's International Realty’s former CEO Europe, Alexander V. G. Kraft.
The charismatic CEO of the Sotheby's Realty France Monaco network (https://www.facebook.com/Alexander.Kraft) set up his Parisian offices the Paris Ouest Sotheby's Realty Victor Hugo agencyThese are also the Fortitude AG head offices which you may contact for all enquiries concerning luxury realty in France.
Since 2005, Sotheby's International Realty France-Monaco has added some fifty agencies. Their meticulously selected teams have been chosen from local players already recognised for their reputation for excellence.