The auction process is a key part of the secondary art and antiques market.

Firms of auctioneers usually specialise in a number of fields such as jewellery, ceramics, paintings, Asian art or coins but many also hold general sales where the goods available are not defined by a particular genre and are usually lower in value.

Auctioneers often provide other services such as probate and insurance valuations.

Sotheby’s broker art leasing deal for museum

26 July 2010

A DEBT-plagued university in Boston has entered into an agreement with Sotheby’s to lease rather than sell off works from its museum’s $350m art collection.


The train crash that cost Steinbeck ‘part of his brain’

26 July 2010

“ED seriously injured late today when train hit car – Ritch”. When a shocked John Steinbeck received this telegram in May, 1948, he left immediately for Monterey, California, but by the time he got there his good friend Ed Ricketts, the man he later described as being “part of my brain for 18 years”, was dead.

Sworders consolidate in favour of Sudbury office

26 July 2010

EAST Anglia auctioneers Sworders have ceased holding sales in Sudbury. The former Olivers saleroom in Burkitt’s Lane, Sudbury will now become an office and storage facility with all future consignments removed for sale to Stansted Mountfitchet.


Devonshires decide to clear out the Chatsworth attics

19 July 2010

JUST one week after Christie’s held their series of London sales from the cellars, storehouses and attics of Althorp, ancestral home of the Spencer family, Sotheby’s announced that they are to hold an autumn auction of attic treasures from Chatsworth, the Derbyshire home of the Dukes of Devonshire.


Munch's Madonna brings over £1m in London

19 July 2010

WHEN it comes to modern prints, Edvard Munch (1863-1944) stands in a league with only Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol as artists who have made sums getting on for £1m at auction. However, Bonhams broke through that barrier on July 13 when they offered an extremely rare version of one of the Norwegian artist’s best known images.


£14,500 price puts bottle among greats

19 July 2010

IT may be a specialised collecting area, but antique bottles have plenty of enthusiasts at all levels. In the sub-sector of antique wine bottles, this 7in (18cm) high example ticked many of the boxes when it came up for sale in Exeter at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood last week.

Bonhams appoint Jon Baddeley as new boss of their Knightsbridge operation

19 July 2010

BONHAMS have promoted Jon Baddeley, their head of collectors’ sales worldwide, to be managing director of their Knightsbridge operation in London with immediate effect. A new head is also expected to be appointed for the Bond Street operation.


A £2.2m record for English silver

12 July 2010

AT 11 1/2 stone and 4ft 3in (1.3m) wide, it is big enough to bathe in. Baron Raby’s wine cistern was ordered from the workshops of goldsmith Philip Rollos in 1705 as part of his ambassadorial plate in his capacity as Ambassador Extraordinary to the King of Prussia in Berlin.


Turner the £26.5m toast of London’s Old Master sales

12 July 2010

HAD it not been for the headline-grabbing and record-breaking J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), the latest Old Master auctions in London would have seemed a bit flat.


Worcester plate opens the day at £12,000

10 July 2010

THE Lyon & Turnbull sale at Edinburgh got off to a splendid start when Lot 1, a Worcester porcelain plate from the Duke of Gloucester service, c.1770, sold at £12,000.


British works set records in flatter Contemporary market

05 July 2010

THE latest Contemporary art sales in London were a little flatter than expected, but Modern British art generated a batch of stand-out prices.


Godden sale nets £500,000

05 July 2010

TO many people, Geoffrey Godden is indivisible from English porcelain. The scholar and author is a name on every ceramic enthusiast’s bookshelves through the many books on English ceramics written during the course of his 60 years of collecting and study.

Now it’s the Reverend Rupert

05 July 2010

WEST Sussex auctioneer Rupert Toovey was ordained deacon at Chichester cathedral on June 26.


Huge totals at Imps & Mods sales despite overheated estimates

28 June 2010

THE latest Impressionist & Modern art auction series in London saw rising returns for the salerooms but buyers reacted unfavourably to heavy estimates on the most expensive works.


Gloucestershire sale shows Fenton in Orientalist mode

28 June 2010

A GROUP of five photographs by pioneering British photographer Roger Fenton (1819-1869) sold for £100,500, some five times above their combined estimate, at Dominic Winter of South Cerney, Gloucestershire on June 17.


Spencer clear-out throws up some affordable treats

28 June 2010

HOUSE contents sales always create a frisson of excitement. Alongside the stars of the show, big-ticket pieces that comes trailing clouds of pre-sale publicity, there is the potential thrill of the unexpected, the serendipitous attractions of the less elevated contents of cellar, outhouse and attic, which hold out the possibility of a bargain.


£33.5m record for Modigliani and for France

21 June 2010

IT may have been an exceptional piece that generated an equally exceptional level of presale interest but, even still, few people present at Christie's Paris for the sale of Amedeo Modigliai's (1884-1920) Tête were expecting it to become the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction in France.


A modified table – and estimate

21 June 2010

THE unexpected highlight of the sale conducted by Cheffins of Cambridge on June 9-10 came courtesy of this mahogany writing table. Estimated at £4000-6000, it sold at £68,000 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer's premium).


Mementos of a true high flyer

21 June 2010

THERE can be no more important figure in British inter-War aviation than the aircraft designer Reginald Joseph Mitchell (1895-1937).


Lalique in London draws glut of international buyers

19 June 2010

FROM perfume bottles and menu holders to vases and car mascots, the glass creations of René Lalique remain consistently appealing to a varied gamut of buyers.