Auctioneers make commitment to future of South Kensington salerooms

Christie’s have decided to stop holding individual sales in certain collectables categories. They will instead group them under two headings: Icons of the Twentieth Century and Science, Exploration & Discovery.

The categories affected include: cameras, toys and trains, teddy bears and dolls, mechanical music, maritime models, instruments and artefacts, scientific instruments, film and entertainment memorabilia and sporting memorabilia.

Christie’s say that the sales, which are based at their South Kensington rooms, will concentrate on top lots these categories in a bid to appeal to new buyers in the retail market.

However, there are no plans to raise the minimum lot value.

A Christie’s spokesman told ATG that the move was “part of an evolving strategy that is geared towards developing more of a retail approach at CSK, moving away from the collector-centric approach to the business”.

This is exemplified by other changes Christie’s have introduced over the last two years, such as the introduction of the firm’s Interior sales and their magalogues.

The changes will mean shedding between six and ten staff.

Christie’s sought to head off suspicions that the move could be part of a strategy to downgrade the South Kensington rooms in the wake of Sotheby’s decision to close Olympia and move away from the middle market.

“Christie’s remains committed to both the international high end and middle market auction business and to Christie’s South Kensington as a site,” said a spokesman.

They said they would continue to develop traditional and modern fine and decorative art auctions as well as the Interior sales at their secondary rooms.

The spokesman added: “We will also continue our investment in the refurbishment of the saleroom and focusing on improving client service to support this evolving sales programme at Christie’s South Kensington.”