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.

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Soutine’s pastry chefs leads Christie’s sale in New York

09 May 2013

A painting by Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) entitled ‘Le petit pâtissier’ was the top lot of Christie’s latest evening sale of Impressionist & Modern art in New York.

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The £11,500 amber beads

09 May 2013

Pearls and coloured stones remain strong – but, fuelled by interest from China (and, to a lesser, extent, the Middle East), so does amber.

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Cézanne’s Apples take $37m – the top pick at Sotheby’s

08 May 2013

Paul Cézanne’s ‘Les pommes’ led the way at Sotheby’s latest evening sale of Impressionist & Modern Art in New York.

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Katz catches a falcon for £950,000

07 May 2013

Standing in the same spot where he had placed the winning £3.25m bid for an Egyptian statue of Isis six months before, London dealer Daniel Katz was again in action at Christie’s South Kensington’s latest antiquities sale.

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Ceramics and glass feast for London rooms

07 May 2013

Last week was a busy one for glass and ceramics in the London rooms with five auctions taking place over the space of 48 hours and some bullish prices for top pieces.

Couture cache to be sold off

07 May 2013

Paris auctioneers Gros & Delettrez have announced the sale of 350 lots of haute couture from Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain, muse to the late Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s, and later an artistic advisor at Dior.

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Rolex watch stirs wartime memories and sells at £24,000

07 May 2013

Fellows’ latest quarterly Vintage & Modern Wristwatch auction included a rare 1940s Rolex Oyster, the so-called ‘monobloc’ chronograph.

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Mishneh Torah sold in private deal

07 May 2013

The Mishneh Torah was withdrawn from a recent Sotheby’s sale at the eleventh hour after vendors Michael and Judy Steinhard struck a private treaty sale with The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Pinault’s gift helps to end Chinese spat with Christie’s

07 May 2013

The Pinault family, owners of Christie’s and the luxury goods group PPR, are to hand back to China the two Qianlong bronzes that caused great upset when offered for sale in Paris four years ago.

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Orientalist sale in London packs a big punch

01 May 2013

Featuring only 22 lots, Sotheby’s latest sale of Orientalist art was a small affair but one that definitely packed a big punch.

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Joseph Wright of Derby sells at £125,000 in West Sussex

29 April 2013

This previously unrecorded late work by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-97), ‘Landscape with Rainbow’, sold for £125,000 at Bellmans in Wisborough Green, West Sussex.

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Ritz discovery sets new record for Le Brun at Christie’s

29 April 2013

The Charles Le Brun oil on canvas discovered hanging in the Paris Hôtel Ritz proved to be the high point of Christie’s latest sale of Old Master and 19th century paintings in Paris.

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Bowl sets new Kangxi record at £5.8m

22 April 2013

A new auction high for Qing Kangxi porcelain was established in Sotheby’s latest spring sale series in Hong Kong.

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Sister Wendy’s collection at auction

22 April 2013

Say the name Sister Wendy Beckett and most people will immediately picture the unique figure of the elderly nun as she tours the world’s art galleries, talking intensely to the TV camera.

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Chinese figure makes £31,000 in Canterbury

22 April 2013

This Chinese gilt-bronze figure of Maitreya dating to the Qing dynasty was among the Asian highlights on offer at The Canterbury Auction Galleries’ latest sale.

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Francis Crick letter revealing DNA sells at $5.3m

22 April 2013

A letter written by pioneering scientist Dr Francis Crick containing what is probably the first description he gave of the discovery of DNA has been sold for a world auction record.

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Will this be the world’s most expensive book?

22 April 2013

Familiarly known as the Bay Psalm Book, one of the finest surviving copies of the first book printed in what is now the USA is expected to become the world’s most expensive book at Sotheby’s New York in November.

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Birley sale: eclectic mix from nightclub owner’s London home

19 April 2013

“Sales like this do not come along often,” said Sotheby’s specialist David Macdonald after the auction of Mark Birley’s collection from his South Kensington home.

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Barberi’s miniature masterpiece takes £6200 in Newcastle

18 April 2013

Collectables specialist Fred Wyrley-Birch at Anderson & Garland was seriously impressed by this micromosaic plaque, offered for sale at Westerhope, near Newcastle in their latest fine art sale. And so were buyers.

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American flag from the War of 1812

18 April 2013

This 15-star American War Naval Jack used in the Anglo-American War of 1812, is thought to be the first of its kind to be offered at auction.