You got the best part of Sotheby's earnings call by listening closely during the analysts questions.This commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.) Sotheby’s released its third quarter earnings report yesterday. Spanning the slow Summer months of July, August and September, the quarter rarely provides much in the way of directional information about the tone of the art market or the evolution of Sotheby’s strategy. Paradoxically, the absence of data usually allows or, even, requires Sotheby’s management to use their earnings call as a bully pulpit on their business. Before we survey the color commentary Sotheby’s provided, there were some numbers worth paying attention to. For the first nine months of 2018, sales are up a solid 20% to $4.04bn. Half of that rise came from a 49% updraft in private sales to $675.4m. That puts the division on track towards a nice round $1bn in private sales. That number surely reflects the new-ish private sales division hitting its stride but also a quietly increasing industry trend away from public auction to private transactions.
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