Auction Houses: Glamour and competition in the heart of London!

By Sergio González | 10:51

Christie’s is the largest auction house in the world

Auctioning, along haggling and regular selling, has always been around but the first auction house ever was created in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1674. However, it didn’t take long for the Brits to fancy this new trend and they began their own auctioning style with candle auctions. The flame of a candle will set an irregular amount of time to bet, so no one could possibly know when the candle will be consumed to make the final bet. So popular auctioning became in England that the most popular way of auctioning -open ascending price- is called the English auction.

To start seeing the auction houses we know nowadays like Sotheby’s or Christie’s we must wait for almost another century, while UK was forming the global empire and London became the absolute center of world trade.

However, it wouldn’t be until art sales moved from coffeeshops to auction houses when the real glamour started to be around. Sotheby’s was founded in London in 1744 and twenty years later Christie’s would see the mace of her first auction, a humble collection of old books.

Christie’s is nowadays the largest auction house in the world -Sotheby’s being the second- and they also boast some major auctions and records in the business, like the most expensive work of art ever auctioned Three Studies of Lucian Freud by F. Bacon, sold for $142,4M on November 23rd 2013.

Nevertheless, the greatest thing about Christie’s -as long as you have the cash- is art auction. You can find pieces of work and personal items of every kind of people from Marylyn Monroe to Leonardo Da Vinci.

Sotheby’s itself is not behind, since they are the largest art dealers in the world, with private sales that reach more than $5000M every year. The most famous auctions include Munch’s Scream for barely $122M (watch here the actual auction  of this painting)

The most glamorous auction houses are in London. They also have NY based headquarters, but the real antique chic is in the old capital of the empire. The great news is that you can visit any auction house you want since most are open to the public and no invitation, fee or minimum betting is mandatory. You can just go peek into the life of the rich and arty, and get the chance to see a Picasso’s or Cezanne’s painting a few feet from you, a feeling online auction sites can’t achieve.

Since we all want to enjoy new, cool experiences when travelling -not just merely being there- this is the perfect glamorous getaway to London. Make everything boil up to by doing some shopping at Savile Row and get the chance to buy where Lord Nelson, Churchill or Jude Law did. Don’t forget to take a pic of the building in the 3rd number of the street; The Beatles did their final performance, Let it be, on top of its roof.

And to fully round your classy vacation in London, book tickets for the opera in the Royal Albert Hall, have lunch at any of these London’s top 50 restaurants, according to TimeOut, and have the best sleep and accommodation with us in any of our timeless hotels in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: NH Kensington and NH Harrington Hall. Chic London, here we come!

Photo credit: Portable Antiquities Scheme


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