Sotheby’s has a long and successful history of private sales and we consistently realize exceptional results in this key area of our business. Since 2012, nearly 2,400 buyers from 79 countries have purchased works privately at Sotheby’s, accounting for $4.4 billion in sales. We have the fastest growing private sale segment in the market and will ensure that your private sale experience is met with unrivaled discretion, efficiency and convenience every step of the way.
Sotheby’s offers year-round exhibition programming. With dedicated gallery space in New York, London and Hong Kong, Sotheby’s presents selling exhibitions exploring the work of celebrated artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, and Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, as well as shows curated by influential art world figures.
Old Master PaintingsJames MacdonaldSenior Director, Worldwide | Head of Private SalesLondon
Impressionist & Modern ArtClarissa PostSenior Vice President | Senior SpecialistNew York
Impressionist & Modern ArtSamuel ValetteSenior Director | Vice Chairman, Private Sales WorldwideLondon
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- How can I find out what is currently for sale?
- Who can I contact for help in acquiring an object or work of art?
- How will you find the object or work I am looking to acquire?
- How does the level of discretion in a private sale differ from that of an auction?
- Can I buy works directly from a selling exhibition?
- Are private sales conducted in all Sotheby's locations?
- How quickly could you identify property that closely matches my specifications?
- How do I pay for my purchase?
How can I find out what is currently for sale?
- Selling exhibitions are held regularly throughout Sotheby’s worldwide locations. View our online schedule of upcoming sales.
- Sotheby’s Diamonds offers pieces from its collection as well as custom-made jewellery and access to important stones. Visit Sotheby’s Diamonds.
- Sotheby’s Wine can be purchased either through our retail store located in our New York headquarters or on the Sotheby's Wine website.
- Sotheby’s is able to source items specifically for you, as described in the question below.
Who can I contact for help in acquiring an object or work of art?
Contact the Sotheby’s specialist most relevant for the property you wish to acquire. For a full listing of Sotheby’s specialists, view our contacts page.
Although Sotheby’s endeavors to accommodate all requests, please note that bespoke services are generally provided for transactions of $100,000 or greater.
How will you find the object or work I am looking to acquire?
Sotheby’s close relationships with the most important collectors and collections gives us unparalleled access to procure exceptional objects and works of art on your behalf.
How does the level of discretion in a private sale differ from that of an auction?
We never disclose the identity of a buyer unless it is the express wish of the client to publicise their identity. While Sotheby’s releases auction prices to the public, all aspects of a private sale are kept in the strictest confidence.
Can I buy works directly from a selling exhibition?
Yes. Each selling exhibition has a list of Sotheby’s contacts who can provide pricing and confirm the availability of works. On the selling exhibitions page, click on the relevant exhibition to find contact details.
Are private sales conducted in all Sotheby's locations?
Yes. Sotheby’s specialists are engaged with clients worldwide and will utilise our global network to assist you in acquiring the finest objects specific to your needs.
How quickly could you identify property that closely matches my specifications?
We will do our utmost to quickly locate the item or items that best meet your needs, but depending on the rarity and uniqueness of the object, the timing may vary. Our specialists will continue to identify possible private sale opportunities until your requirements have been met.
How do I pay for my purchase?
As soon as the sale has been processed, the post-sale service team will send you an invoice and a shipping quote based on your shipping preferences. You can pay by bank transfer, cheque or cash (subject to certain restrictions and legal limits). Certain credit cards are accepted at select Sotheby’s locations. Payment must be sent from the invoiced party and not from a third party. We will also assist you through the paperwork and shipping processes, and other logistical details needed to finalise your purchase.
- How can I find out what my property is worth?
- What does Sotheby's sell privately?
- How do you determine whether a private sale or an auction is the most suitable method for selling my property?
- How will you find a buyer for my property?
- How long will it take to sell my property?
- Who can I contact about a potential sale of my property?
How can I find out what my property is worth?
We will gladly evaluate the work you are considering selling privately. For general enquiries about the value of your property, please complete an estimate request form according to the directions provided, which includes submitting clear colour photographs and images of details such as signatures, maker’s marks and areas of damage. For other enquiries specific to private (non-auction) sales, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Sotheby’s minimum consignment value for private sale is $100,000.
How do you determine whether a private sale or an auction is the most suitable method for selling my property?
After Sotheby’s specialists examine and appraise your property, they will assess the best method for offering your work and achieving your goals. Our specialists will work with you to develop a personalised sale strategy that will be the most beneficial for your specific needs based on their unique market access and global insights. All private sale enquiries are treated with the utmost privacy and confidentiality.
How will you find a buyer for my property?
When you consign a work to Sotheby’s for private sale, we will present you with an agreement outlining our exclusive right to offer the work for a specified period of time. Sotheby’s will then begin to discreetly offer your property to individual potential purchasers, one at a time, while keeping you informed of our progress.
How long will it take to sell my property?
We will do our utmost to quickly find a buyer for your property, but the timing may vary depending on market demand for your object.
Who can I contact about a potential sale of my property?
Contact the Sotheby’s specialist most relevant for your property. For a full listing of Sotheby’s specialists, view our contacts page. If you are not sure which category to select, or if you have a general enquiry about selling privately, email our Private Sales Department at email@example.com.
If you are unable to find the information you are seeking, you may call or send us an e-mail.
From the UK: +44 (0) 20 7293 5000
From the US: +1 212 606 7000