About Sotheby's Auction House
On March 11, 1744, Samuel Baker, founder of Sotheby's, held the first-ever sale under his own name. The library of a certain Rt. Hon. Sir John Stanley, Bart, described as "containing several hundred scarce and valuable books in all branches of Polite Literature" sold for a few hundred pounds. Well over two centuries later, on December 6, 1983, Sotheby's sold a single book, The Gospels of Henry the Lion, for more than 8 million pounds.
In 2000, Sotheby's became the first international art auction house to hold auctions on the Internet. Sothebys.com was the venue for some dramatic and unprecedented successes, such as the sale of a first printing of the Declaration of Independence for more than $8 million, 21 panels of the historic Boston Garden floor, and a masterwork by Frederick, Lord Leighton. In addition, Sotheby's opened its traditional auctions to Internet bidding through the eBay Live Auctions service. Although no longer an auction venue, Sotheby's website remains a vital tool for the dissemination of information and news about the auction house worldwide, and select sales are open for bids via the Internet.
Whether expanding our infrastructure or exploring cyberspace, Sotheby's continues to demonstrate innovation and responsiveness to the needs of our ever-expanding international clientele. As our clients' needs and collecting tastes evolve, Sotheby's flexibility and unwavering focus on expertise and client service will remain our hallmarks into the 21st century.
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