Among the most established and renowned antique auctioneers in the world is Christie’s. This is one of the oldest auctioneer in the world today where it was founded by James Christie in 1766. Collecting antiques would mean that you will be looking for antiques in all the possible places like markets, car boot sales, antique galleries and most notably antique auctioneers where they might be most costly than others.
Essentially, you will come across names like Christie’s and Sotheby’s who have been involved in auctioning for decades as well as selling off some of the most expensive antiques in the world. Christie’s headquarters is in London where it is managed today by Mr Steven Pleshette Murphy who is the Chief Executive Officer of this international agent.
Although Christie’s is a very established name in antique auctioning, their main role and focus is actually in the fine arts which encompasses a wide range of interesting objects and items like paintings, sculptures, rarities and obviously antiques. Historically, the first sale was conducted by James Christie in 1766 in London’s Pall Mall where he sold off 2 chamber pots, a pair of sheets, 2 pillowcases and 4 irons.
From there, word got around and before long, he became the leading auctioneer in London at the time when the city was known to be a major international art trading centre. The Pall Mall premises would also gain popularity and it would then become a hub for collectors and dealers of the arts.
During that period, James Christie was a very popular figure where he was friends and associated with the likes of Thomas Gainsborough, a popular painter then, Thomas Chippendale, a very popular furniture maker and artist Joshua Reynolds. The venue would also be home to annual art exhibitions for the London Royal Academy of Arts between 1766 and 1799.
When Christie’s was asked to sell the art collection of Sir Robert Walpole, its reputation was cemented after they were sold for £40,000 to the Russian empress Catherine the Great. When he died, his son James Christie II took over and it was then moved to King Street, St. James in 1823, where it still operates until today.
The company would continue to change hands until it went public in 1973 before a French industrialist Francois Pinault privatised it in 1999. Today, Christie’s operate in 9 sales rooms around the world with 2 in London itself and other major cities like Dubai, Milan, Hong Kong, Zurich, New York, Paris, Geneva and Amsterdam.
Among its most notable sales that Christie’s undertook recently are the Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas by Claude Monet which was auctioned for $80.4 million and remains as the most expensive Monet ever auctioned, the Green Car Crash by Andy Warhol auctioned for $71.7 million, the Bulgari Blue Diamond ring which was auctioned for $15,763,500.
A 1944 Patek Philippe wristwatch was also auctioned for more than $2.2 million by Christie’s in 2007 while in 2010, the auction house hammered down a large Kashmir sapphire ring for about $3.5 million.