Sotheby's first half results show 24% sales increase

Sotheby's has released its first-half financial results, showing a 24% increase in global sales year on year.

Chenghua chicken cup
The Chenghua chicken cup is Sotheby's top sale so far, closing at $36.2m in Hong Kong

The auction house has seen $2.7bn so far this year, with London and Hong Kong its most successful bases. The increase in sales led to an 18% increase on last year in commission revenues, bringing the total to $403.8m.

"We sold 487 lots at over $1 million, more than any other art market participant. We are demonstrating that the art market is robust", commented Bill Ruprecht, chairman, president and CEO of Sotheby's.

"The fact that 26% of our buyers in the first half of the year were first-time clients shows we are engaging with a new generation of collectors, and that's exciting," he added.

"We're looking forward to building on the successes of these six months with a number of exceptional sales this fall and with our new eBay partnership that will showcase our New York auctions to an unrivalled global online audience of millions of potentially new collectors."

Highlights to date this year include the $9.5m sale of the British Guiana 1c Magenta stamp, the $2m auction of Bob Dylan's handwritten lyrics to Like a Rolling Stone, and the sale of a 15th century Chinese porcelain "chicken cup", which made $36.2m - all breaking world records in the process.

Rival auction house Christie's first half results show a 12% increase year-on-year to $4.4bn, cementing its place as the global leader for art and antiques auctions.

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