Among the interesting nuggets in Kelly Crow’s WSJ story on how both auction houses are reaching out to new collectors is this gem:
A third of Sotheby’s 1,550 employees are assigned to look after at least 9,000 top collectors, a job that entails everything from researching bidders’ financial standing to digging through catalogs for objects that might intrigue them.
Christie’s contemporary specialist Brett Gorvy keeps a revolving list of at least 141 collectors who can afford to spend $50 million or more on art trophies. At least 16 of those names were added to the roster in the past year alone. Mr. Gorvy, who declined to reveal the names on his list, said he started it 15 years ago using information from Christie’s client database. He shuffles his rankings regularly to reflect changes in their bidding activity. At the outset, he said most of the collectors on his list were at least 70 years old and worked for major corporations. Today, a majority are in their 40s and 50s and run their own companies.
Some 26 people on the list are from Asia, including four who were “completely new to us” last fall when they separately placed bids above $80 million for a Francis Bacon triptych that Christie’s offered for sale.