Christie’s is an art business and a fine arts auction house, and currently the world’s largest with sales for the first half of 2012 some $3.5 billion representing the highest total for a corresponding period in company and art market history.
The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766. However, other sources note that James Christie rented auction rooms from 1762, and newspaper advertisements of Christie’s sales dating from 1759 have also been traced. Christie’s soon established a reputation as a leading auction house, and took advantage of London’s new found status as the major centre of the international art trade after the French Revolution. From 1859, the company was called Christie, Manson & Woods. In 1958, it established its first overseas office, by placing a representative in Rome. The first overseas salesroom opened in Geneva, where Christie’s holds jewellery auctions.
For more on the history of Christie’s, read Inside Christie’s. You can get it on Amazon for a penny.