The skills and thrills of conducting an auction: Top auctioneers‘ account

Newly married in the 1980s, Lord Mark Poltimore remembers shouting numbers in increments to his wife, Sally, who would approve of most and remain unimpressed by others.

By way of this unusual demonstration of love, the two had in fact been practising for the art auctioneer’s debut performance at the rostrum for Christie’s in South Kensington. “We are still married so I must have done something right,” says Poltimore, now among the main auctioneers for Sotheby’s and the deputy chairman of its Europe business. A day after conducting an auction for …

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