Anthony Phillips retired, after 42 years, in 2009 as Christie's International director of the Silver, Objects of Vertu and Russian Works of Art departments. He continues to work on a consultancy basis with these departments worldwide.
Having joined Christie’s in 1967 to work as the personal assistant to Arthur Grimwade, who is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on English antique silver, Anthony catalogued many of the major sales in London, Geneva, and Amsterdam for nearly a decade before moving to New York in 1976 where he set up and headed the Silver, Objects of Vertu and Russian departments, and was, from 1990-1996 head of all the specialist departments. In the latter year he returned to London to concentrate on developing the silver market on a world-wide basis.
Anthony has made many significant discoveries in the silver world, particularly in the field of early German silver. Amongst his most remarkable discoveries was the identification of the maker of a previously unknown enamelled silver service, dated 1615 as being David Altenstetter, the leading German Renaissance enameller and silversmith of his day. In addition the service of 36 pieces is the earliest recorded complete set of table-silver by some 70 years. His extensive research contributed to the extraordinary price it realised: £1 million in 2005. He went on to receive an email one morning from a Portuguese client with pictures attached which he immediately recognised as being of exceptional artistic importance. Following research in Vienna and Munich the Cunha-Braga Cup sold for £1.9 million against an estimate of £200,000-300,000 in 2006. Anthony also played an instrumental part in securing the consignment of the record breaking Rothschild Fabergé Egg Clock, which realised £8.9 million in 2007.
His last year as international director was marked by the record breaking 100% sale of silver and objects of Vertu in the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierrre Berge.