Classic Week at Christie’s London concluded on 13 July with an outstanding total of £87,169,480. 1,216 works of art were sold during the week, with strong average sell-through rates of 80% by lot and 80% by value.

The series saw participation from bidders in 65 countries, along with a considerable increase in online bidding. Significant purchases were made by international museums, including the Rijksmuseum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

19 records were set across the 11 auctions. Francesco Guardi’s Venice: The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo Dei Camerlenghi realised £26,205,000, the highest price of any Old Master painting sold at auction this year, while André Beauneveu’s marble lions from the tomb of Charles V sold for £9,349,000, breaking the world auction record for a medieval work of art.

Other star lots included an Etruscan bronze mirror from the Elsa Bloch-Diener Collection that sold for £436,000, an auction world record for a mirror of this type, and a letter sent by Albert Einstein to his friend Michele Besso explaining the cosmological constant, which more than trebled its high estimate in reaching a price of £293,000.

The online sale of Einstein’s correspondence, Einstein: Letters to a Friend, also attracted considerable bidding, with 100% of its lots sold, while The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer closed with similarly impressive sell-through rates of 93% by lot and 95% by value to total £1,905,938.

Auction highlights

How to sell at auction

Building on the success of our summer sale series, we are now inviting consignments to our upcoming Classic Week sales in London.

Christie’s can guide you through the entire auction process. Once we have determined that your property is appropriate for sale at auction, our specialists will arrange every detail, from establishing estimates to cataloguing your property and marketing it to prospective buyers worldwide.

Watch our video for a quick tutorial on how to sell at Christie’s.