Sotheby's

Sotheby’s have been holding auctions since 1744.  Founded in London, where they moved into salerooms on Bond Street in 1917, Sotheby’s expanded to New York in 1955 and now have salerooms and offices around the world.

Sotheby’s offer specialist sales in over 70 different categories though four major salerooms, six smaller ones and through their online bidding platform BIDnow.


In the Celtic limelight...

17 April 2001

Sotheby’s find a warm welcome in Wales with record bid and active museum interest UK: THE strong, and occasionally extraordinary, demand for Celtic art, both Scottish and Irish, has been a feature of the art market for years and has warranted specialist picture sales devoted to those country’s painters.

Vintage model puts trade in the driving seat

09 April 2001

UK: THE first fortnight of March at Sotheby’s Sussex saw specialist sales in the ‘Arcade’ format of lower-priced pieces across the spectrum, where the trade achieved something like their old dominance when it came to higher value items – and were prepared to pay well over estimates to do so.

Euclid’s Elementa

26 March 2001

In a beautifully preserved contemporary, and possibly Austrian binding of blind-stamped calf with brass fittings, this copy of Erhard Ratdolt’s 1482, first printing of Euclid’s Elementa, shows some slight waterstaining to the lower margins, but it remains one of the largest and freshest copies in existence – taller than even the Doheny, Honeyman-Garden and Haskell F. Norman copies.

Thucydides and a King James Bible

26 March 2001

A superb example of “the quintessential Italian Renaissance book”, a 1545 first of the first Italian translation of Thucydides in a fine Apollo & Pegasus binding made for the famous library of G.B. Grimaldi – a collection of some 200 key works formed under the supervision of the Roman humanist Tolomei. It sold for $140,000 (£96,550).

Probier Buchlein... and Bergwerk...

26 March 2001

The former Honeyman copy of the Probier Buchlein... and Bergwerk..., two rare booklets on assaying dated 1524 and ’33 (the latter with two leaves in photocopy) produced one of the shock results of Haskell F. Norman sale in 1998 when it made $80,000 – 20 times the estimate.

Hortus sanitatis and the Atlas minéralogique de la France...

26 March 2001

A spread from a 1491 first edition of the most comprehensive and richly illustrated medical or natural history publication of the 15th century, the Hortus sanitatis.

Systême des animaux... and Campi Phlegraei...

26 March 2001

Interleaved throughout with blank leaves, 19 of which bear the author’s annotations, this is Jean Baptiste Lamarck’s own copy of his landmark work on the evolution of species, an 1801 first of Systême des animaux sans vertèbres, ou tableau général des classes, des ordres et des genre de ces animaux in a contemporary binding.

Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding

26 March 2001

A 1690 first of Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, bound in contemporary English mottled calf gilt and formerly in Sir Isaac Newton’s library, that reached $190,000 (£131,035) was acquired by Freilich at the Haskell F. Norman sales of 1998, when the price was $200,000.

Tractado de las drogas, y medecinas de las Indias orientales...

26 March 2001

Tractado de las drogas, y medecinas de las Indias orientales..., published in Burgos in 1578 and here seen in a later 16th Spanish goatskin binding (dated 1593 in a lettered cartouche to the fore-edge) bearing the gilt stamped arms of the Marques de Moya, is nominally the work of Cristóbal de Acosta, a Portuguese soldier and physician, but in his woodcut-illustrated book on drugs and the medicinal plants of Asia he readily admits his debt to the work of García da Orta, a Lisbon physician.

Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine ...

26 March 2001

One of 194 full-page engraved plates from a 1588 first of Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine..., a study of the science and technology of machines in the Renaissance and one of the more famous illustrated books of the 16th century.

Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae...

26 March 2001

Pictured here is the title page of one of the more important publications in the history of science – Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae... of 1735, which laid the groundwork for the systematic classification of plants and animals.

Hevelius’ Selenographia...

26 March 2001

Sold at $75,000 (£51,725), at the Freilich sale which took place at Sotheby’s New York on January 10 and 11, was a superb copy of the first complete lunar atlas, Hevelius’ Selenographia... of 1647.

Histoire naturelle ... Règne Minéral

26 March 2001

One of eight colour printed and hand-finished plates from the only known copy of a work that Fabien Gautier D’Agoty issued in 1777, apparently as a prospectus for his Histoire naturelle ... Règne Minéral.

‘Lost’ Michelangelo – appeal fund launched with £1/2m gift

19 March 2001

UK: A ‘LOST’ drawing by Michelangelo could be saved for the nation if a £7.5m appeal, launched this week, succeeds.

Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle

19 March 2001

US: BOUND in late 17th century French red morocco gilt, this is the five-volume Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle, the 1497-98 first edition in Greek and, in the amount of research and editing that went into its creation, let alone the fine typography, the greatest printing project of the 15th century.

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre

19 March 2001

UK: IN THE original greyish purple ribbed and blind-stamped cloth bindings, this 1847 first edition of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre brought a bid of £30,000 from an American dealer, who may or may not have been that same, un-named West Coast dealer who bought some of the Jane Austens described above, and who also paid £7000 for a three vol. 1853 first of Charlotte’s Villette in the original greyish-olive morocco cloth.

The Prince of Wales’s fine blow for a fine bow

19 March 2001

This 91/2in (24cm) long silver bugle was conceived not as a musical instrument but for quite a different purpose – as a prize for archery and is fascinating for the insight it gives us into a late 18th century revival of the skill.

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Emma

19 March 2001

UK: IN THE original grey-brown paper boards with printed paper labels on the spines, these first edition copies of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, four vols. 1818, and Emma, three vols. 1816, sold at £19,000 and £22,000 respectively to an un-named US dealer.

The Inheritors and A Dance to the Music of Time

19 March 2001

Illustrated here are two more selections from Sotheby's English Literature & History sale held on December 14.

Sotheby’s first to show pain of fines

19 March 2001

Christie’s report record sales as rivals lose market share

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