The Telegraph offers these snippets from the life of Bill Brooks, the Christie’s auctioneer who founded the house’s South Kensington sale rooms and was the progenitor of the Antiques Roadshow. Brooks is also the father of Bonhmans chairman, Robert Brooks:
His success also owed much to his reputation as one of the auction world’s “great characters”. Gavel in hand, he offered a genial patter, and made friends with everyone from porters to directors. Capable of slipping in a “Bless you” when a bidder sneezed, he could also be scathing when confronted with cheek.
Once, he ended up wrestling with a man. Another time, when a dealer offered £420 for a carpet which Brooks thought was worth £450, Brooks told him: “Obviously you do not want this lot, but do come to one of my evening parties. I give them every Saturday, and you can learn how to be generous.”
His self-confidence contributed to the increase in turnover, which rose from £1 million to £26 million in 10 years.
Bill Brooks (Telegraph)