Claude Monet’s Nympheas, sold for £31.7m ($54.1m) at Sotheby’s London in June
Sotheby’s announced today that auction sales for the first half of 2014 stand at $3.12bn – the highest in the company’s history. Full half year results and consolidated figures will be released in the coming weeks. Christie’s earlier announced record sales worth $4.47 billion in the first half of 2014. Sotheby’s recorded a 47% growth in Asia and the just concluded London season of sales was the company’s strongest ever.
Earlier this week Sotheby’s announced a new partnership with eBay. Online bidders competed for 17% of lots offered in 2013. Mobile traffic now accounts for 25% of Sotheby’s total website traffic. In the first half of this year 26% of buyers were new to Sotheby’s and the company has sold 492 lots at over $1 million.
Mark Cornell, Sotheby’s Managing Director for Europe, said: ‘The critical selling categories in which Sotheby’s has led the market this year are those we see attracting the fastest, strongest stream of new buyers, primarily from the new markets. Sotheby’s ability to attract, engage and excite these new players is evidenced both in the exceptional growth we’ve seen in Asia, and in the record results we’ve seen in London this season, where record numbers of buyers fuelled total sales of £360m – some 13% ahead of those of our nearest competitor.’
Referring to this season’s London sales in particular, Mark Cornell continued: “The record successes we have enjoyed in London this summer are the fruit of the combination of old rules and new players. Old rules still apply: quality, rarity, provenance and correct estimates are key, and new players care just as much about those criteria as established collectors. It is the confluence of rich offerings and ever-more global demand that has proved so powerful this season, and that will continue to power the market forward.”