More ‘mid season’ sales at underused King Street in core categories such as Modern British art, Old Masters, Asian art and decorative arts would go some way to backfilling any CSK hole.
The model at Rockefeller in New York (where there has been no secondary saleroom since the closure of Christie’s East in 2001) will give Christie’s confidence that you don’t always have to sell the bread and butter to get the jam.
In truth, CSK had ceased to be a regular call for many traders – many of whom had turned from buyer to vendor.
Some dealers mourned the loss of ‘the old CSK’ a decade ago when Interiors sales began to replace serious collector offerings as its raison d’être. But, when it comes, the final shutting of doors will be acutely felt on a psychological level.
This is arguably the final physical link between Christie’s and the grassroots of the antiques trade.
The impact of any saleroom closure can be overstated.
The merchandise still has to be sold and expertise is seldom lost. Both simply migrate elsewhere.
Referrals from the major auction rooms have been part and parcel of the business for many years and these days what were once crumbs from under the table are now the stuff of a decent meal.
In many collecting areas, vendors already go directly to the regions where they can be confident their merchandise will receive the justice it deserves.
But few will celebrate the demise of another of London’s middle-market salerooms. The once strong ties that bound together the different strata of the antiques trade will be weakened without CSK.