The famous British auction house, headquartered in London, was founded by James Christie (1730-1803) in 1759 (according to another source in 1762). The first auction was carried out by him on December 5, 1766. Initially, work was primarily done for the English aristocracy and for the royal family. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the business area and customer base expanded to all of Europe and finally to the whole world. The main auction locations are Hong Kong, London, New York and Paris. The company is known for its exclusive rarities and repeatedly sets auction records. In recent years, for example, works and personal possessions by Leonardo da Vinci, Gustav Klimt, Napoleon, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh. A Persian vase carpet from the 17th century was auctioned to an Arab buyer in 2010 for the equivalent of 7.2 million euros. On November 8, 2006, four paintings by Gustav Klimt were auctioned in New York for $ 192 million. The painting Adele Bloch-Bauer II shown in the picture on the right fetched US $ 87.936 million, making it one of the top five paintings.
From the beginning, the sale of special, expensive wine rarities also played an important role. The famous English wine taster Michael Broadbent (1927-2020) became director of the wine department in 1966 and was for countless years Auctions responsible. In the list of most expensive wines in the world was the record holder for a long time Château Lafite-Rothschild Born in 1787 and sold for $ 160,000 (£ 105,000) in 1985 (meanwhile, the competitor Sotheby's Leader). From the estate of US President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) bottle came to the US publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990). Ultimately, however, this transaction led to a scandal (see Hardy Rodenstock, the seller of the bottle). Today Christie's belongs to the PPR group owned by billionaire François Pinault (* 1936). The company employs around 1,900 people worldwide in over 50 offices in 32 countries. In 2015, sales of £ 4.8 billion ($ 7.4 billion) were generated. See also under largest wine companies in the world.