Christie’s Auction House: A Look Inside a 253-Year Old Tradition

One of the oldest names in modern times, Christie’s Auction House is synonymous with many things: wealth, intrigue, opportunity, power. But perhaps most notable, from the collections they sell to the brand itself, this British auction house is living proof that some things were made to last.

The History Behind the Legacy

Founded by James Christie in 1766, Christie’s Auction House’s deep roots in elitist cities like London and Manhattan have lent much to its success. From the sale of items from Stowe House in 1848, one of the first and most highly publicized auctions in their history, Christie’s has continued to gain notoriety for fine items and collections.

They’ve been tapped for high-profile bankruptcy and estate sales, private collections, and historical artifacts, with every auction adding intrigue to the brand. Furniture, fine art, sports cars, and jewelry have brought record-breaking profits to the company.

Most notably was the 2017 sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi for an unheard of price of $450.3 million (pictured).

Spreading the Wealth

Since their beginnings on King Street, Christie’s has spread its presence outside of London and New York to include salesrooms and offices in Zurich, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Milan, Paris, Geneva, Dubai, and Shanghai, among others.

Though having shuttered a select few salesrooms, including its long-running South Kensington location, Christie’s continues to strategically spread their wealth. Most recently, they opened a new flagship space in Beverly Hills, CA.

What to Expect at a Christie’s Auction

Going to a Christie’s auction can be an intimating experience for a first-timer. The sheer grandeur and anticipation can leave one breathless and tingling.

To cut down on the in-the-moment chaos, participants can attend pre-auction sales to see what’s available prior to bidding. You’ll need to register in advance to attend an auction using a government ID and proof of address. In some cases, you’ll also need to provide a deposit or financial references.

Christie’s also offers online auctions so you can browse and bid from the comfort of your home.

253 Years and Counting

Christie’s has hosted some of the most noteworthy and celebrated auctions of the past three centuries, including items from Royal Albert Hall, Hamilton Palace, and celebrities like Elton John and Audrey Hepburn. They’ve continued to expand their empire with fine art storage, appraisals, wealth management, restoration, and real estate, becoming a single source for growing and maintaining cultural status.

The name itself continues to exude the persona of art, history, and culture that was responsible for its initial success. And their story is far from over.