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.


Bidding soars as Morris’s Clouds carpet comes back on the market at £78,000

27 May 2005

AFTER the mixed response to the Christopher Dresser material offered at Lyon & Turnbull (Buyers Premium 17.5%), it was left to the catalogue of decorative arts, consigned by various vendors, to provide the auctioneers with their biggest number of the day.

Pinault moves his museum dream from Paris to Venice

24 May 2005

François Pinault, the French business tycoon who owns Christie’s, has abandoned his plans to build a £100m museum near Paris to house his Contemporary art collection.


The measure of Easton Neston

24 May 2005

Sotheby’s sale of a sizeable slice of the contents Easton Neston, the English Baroque country house that has been home of the Fermor-Hesketh family since it was built in 1699, raised a premium-inclusive £8.7m last week when the auctioneers offered 1472 lots over two days in a marquee on the grounds from May 17-19.

Now François Tajan joins ArtCurial

24 May 2005

François Tajan, who quit as chairman of Tajan SA, the firm founded by his father Jacques, at the end of March, has joined Paris rivals ArtCurial.


Drambuie to sell major slice of their collection

18 May 2005

Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull have secured one of Scotland’s key art collections for sale in January 2006.


£12,500 sofa table brings classic cheer

18 May 2005

Classic English furniture continues to bring good prices at auction providing the quality is there – and this Regency sofa table, right, certainly filled that requirement when it was offered at the March 3 sale in Cornwall held by Bonhams Par (17.5% buyer’s premium).

Commission charges keep Sotheby’s on the right track

18 May 2005

SOTHEBY’S auction and related revenues rose by more than 20 per cent, year on year, for the first quarter of 2005, coming in at $72.2m.

Appeal Court rules unanimously in Christie’s favour over Houghton urns

18 May 2005

THE scientific tests stacked up. The catalogue description was fair. The buyer got what she paid for. But somehow Christie’s still managed to lose the High Court action brought by special client Taylor Lynne Thomson.


Davies pair at £27,000 brighten patchy days

18 May 2005

Andrew Hartley, Ilkley. Buyer’s premium: 10 per centSOME high individual prices but, for West Yorkshire auctioneers Andrew Hartley, an unusually high casualty rate of 29 per cent… “It was a very patchy market,” said Mr Hartley summing up what so many auctioneers are finding.


Has anybody seen urnother of these?

18 May 2005

Regular readers of ATG saleroom reports will be all too aware of the recent price explosion of Minton’s pâte sur pâte ceramics. This highly distinctive, almost cameo-like form of carved slip decoration was perfected by Louis-Marc Solon who had his own special iconography of nymphs and putti engaged in a bewildering array of quirky pursuits.


Life, but not as we know it

12 May 2005

A SNATCHED moment frozen in time thanks to the lucky presence of a camera... or was it?


Brancusi bird soars to $24.5m record

12 May 2005

Bird in Space, right, an unrecorded marble version of one of Constantin Brancusi’s most celebrated and iconic subjects, was the toast of Christie’s $126.8m Impressionist and Modern art sale last week in New York.


Etruscan rattles to a £36,000 tune

06 May 2005

Bonhams Bond StreetCLASSICAL sculpture also dominated Bonhams wide-ranging mixed-owner sale on April 21. Led by the Hever nymph and satyr, discussed on page 13, Roman marbles accounted for eight of the ten highest prices.


Snuff bottles spill onto market

06 May 2005

Christie's New York (10/12% Buyer's premium)SNUFF bottles vary enormously in quality and price but the J&J collection has to rank as one of the world’s foremost specialist holdings. Although these exquisitely made and highly decorative vessels have a following of strong international collectors, inevitably there are limited buyers for top-end imperial quality works.


Available at under £2000, the £82,000 desk...

06 May 2005

“IT was the power of the press that did it,“ said a red-faced, but delighted, auctioneer Michael Perry of Capes Dunn & Co. (15% buyer’s premium). News has only recently filtered down to the ATG of a spectacular result posted by the Manchester auctioneers back on February 22.


Resisting the satyr’s lustful pull

06 May 2005

THE piece with star billing at Bonhams’ April 21 Antiquities auction was the dramatic white marble group, shown here, even meriting its own separate hardback catalogue.


Indian pictures on the rise

06 May 2005

Sotheby's New York (20/12% Buyer's Premium) PRICES have steadily risen in recent years for paintings by India’s most established modern artists notably Maqbool Fida Husain (b.1915) and Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002).


Ancient faces benefit from new buyers

06 May 2005

Christie’s King StreetFaces from the Ancient WorldPATCHY interest for the small Greek and Roman bronzes and other academic material held down the selling rate at Christie’s single owner sale to less than three-quarters by volume. But outside of these entries, buyers paid a premium for the best quality provenanced works.


Handbags at dawn for Hermès fans

05 May 2005

It’s well known that diamonds are a girl’s best friend but handbags surely come a close second. The two combined can be a killer combination.


The sexy side of Italian colonial ambition

05 May 2005

The colourful stylish pottery produced by the Italian firm Lenci (and its competitor Essevi) is on something of a roll these days. The strength of this particular market was demonstrated at Christie’s South Kensington last week by this 21in (53cm) high figure designed by Sandro Vacchetti.