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Sotheby’s was founded in London on March 11, 1744, when Samuel Baker auctioned “several Hundred scarce and valuable books” from the library of the Rt Hon Sir John Stanley for a few hundred pounds. The story of Sotheby’s expansion beyond books to include the best in fine and decorative arts and jewellery is also the story of the global auction market, defined by extraordinary moments that continue to capture the world’s attention.
Since 1744, Sotheby’s has distinguished itself as a leader in the auction world. The auctions, conducted in the venerable salerooms in London and Paris, the museum-quality galleries of the headquarters in New York and the spirited environs of Hong Kong rivet audiences worldwide. Season after season, the depth and excellence of Sotheby’s offerings have produced watershed, record-breaking sales.
Sotheby’s has long recognised that great works of art, as well as the collectors interested in consigning and acquiring them, inhabit the global sphere. Sotheby’s was the first international auction house to expand from London to New York in 1955, and the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong and the then–Soviet Union. Today Sotheby’s maintains 90 locations in 40 countries and conducts 250 auctions each year in over 70 categories. In addition to the four principal salerooms, the company, recognising the potential in new markets, also conducts auctions in six other salerooms around the world, further expanding our global reach.
An unwavering commitment to the very highest level of quality remains the goal of one of the most storied names on the global business stage.