A. Alfred Taubman began collecting in 1947, when his college art instructor gave him one of his own drawings. By the time Taubman died earlier this year, at the age of 91, he had amassed one of the most valuable collections in private hands. In the first of four sales dedicated to Taubman’s holdings, buyers from around the world gathered in Sotheby’s York Avenue saleroom to compete for 77 masterworks. Taubman, the former Chairman of Sotheby’s, considered them his “very good friends” – 12 of them sold for more than $10 million. The evening’s sale totaled $377 million and the series continues tomorrow with an auction of Modern & Contemporary Art.