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Art auction at Sotheby's, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA, England, U.K.

Top 100 Art Auctions | Auction Houses | Auctioneers

An AUCTION is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder. In economic theory, an auction may refer to any mechanism or set of trading rules for exchange. The word "auction" is derived from the Latin augeo which means "I increase" or "I augment". For most of history, auctions have been a relatively uncommon way to negotiate the exchange of goods and commodities. In practice, both haggling and sale by set-price have been significantly more common. Indeed, prior to the seventeenth century the few auctions that were held were sporadic and infrequent.

During the Roman Empire, following military victory, Roman soldiers would often drive a spear into the ground around which the spoils of war were left, to be auctioned off. Later slaves, often captured as the "spoils of war", were auctioned in the forum under the sign of the spear, with the proceeds of sale going towards the war effort. The Romans also used auctions to liquidate the assets of debtors whose property had been confiscated. For example, Marcus Aurelius sold household furniture to pay off debts, the sales lasting for months. One of the most significant historical auctions occurred in the year 193 A.D. when the entire Roman Empire was put on the auction block by the Praetorian Guard. On March 23 The Praetorian Guard first killed emperor Pertinax, then offered the empire to the highest bidder. Didius Julianus outbid everyone else for the price of 6,250 drachmas per Guard, an act that initiated a brief civil war. Didius was then beheaded two months later when Septimius Severus conquered Rome.

From the end of the Roman Empire to the eighteenth century auctions lost favor in Europe, while they had never been widespread in Asia. In some parts of England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries auction by candle was used for the sale of goods and leaseholds. This auction began by lighting a candle after which bids were offered in ascending order until the candle spluttered out. The high bid at the time the candle extinguished itself won the auction.

The oldest auction house in the world is Stockholm Auction House (Stockholms Auktionsverk). It was established in Sweden in 1674. During the end of the 18th century, soon after the French Revolution, auctions came to be held in taverns and coffeehouses to sell art. Such auctions were held daily, and catalogs were printed to announce available items. Such Auction catalogs are frequently printed and distributed before auctions of rare or collectible items. In some cases these catalogs were elaborate works of art themselves, containing considerable detail about the items being auctioned. Sotheby's, now the world's second-largest auction house, held its first auction in 1744. Christie's, now the world's largest auction house, was established around 1766. Other early auction houses that are still in operation include Dorotheum (1707), Bonhams (1793), Phillips de Pury & Company (1796), Freeman's (1805) and Lyon & Turnbull (1826). In 2008, the National Auctioneers Association reported that the gross revenue of the auction industry for that year was approximately $268.4 billion, with the fastest growing sectors being agricultural, machinery, and equipment auctions and residential real estate auctions.

Antiques & Collectibles (15) Architects & Architecture: A-Z Art Awards & Prizes (Top 10)
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Artists: A-Z (Top 300) Auction Houses: A-Z (Top 100) Museums & WHC Sites (Top 700)
  • 11 most expensive cars sold at auction in 2016 - Wired.
  • 2015 Top 200 Collectors - ARTNews.
  • ART AUCTION - Wikipedia.
  • ART AUCTION HOUSES AND ONLINE ART AUCTIONS - Art-Collecting.
  • ART LOSS REGISTER | ALR - evolving, computerized international database which captures information about lost and stolen art, antiques and collectables.
  • ART THEFT - Wikipedia.
  • ARTNET - "The Art World Online." Artnet is the place to buy, sell and research fine art online. Our online Gallery Network is the largest of its kind, with over 2,200 galleries in over 250 cities worldwide, more than 166,000 artworks by over 39,000 artists from around the globe.
  • ASK ART - "The Artists' Bluebook". Instant information. Art. Artists. Prices.
  • AUCTION - Wikipedia.
  • AUCTION HOUSES OF USA
  • BEST ART AUCTION HOUSES
  • Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945 - The Central Registry fulfils Washington Principle V1 on the setting up of a central repository of information on Nazi looting and contemporary efforts to research and resolve all outstanding issues. It is a charitable body operating under the auspices of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, an independent unit of the University of Oxford.
  • Christie’s Has Art World’s First $1 Billion Week - The New York Times.
  • COMMISSION FOR LOOTED ART IN EUROPE - founded in 1999. An international, expert and non-profit representative body which researches, identifies and recovers looted property on behalf of families, communities, institutions and governments worldwide.
  • Culture and jihad, grimly connected through the art market's “blood antiquities” - The Economist.
  • ERR | EINSATZSTAB REICHSLEITER ROSENBERG PROJECT - the database documents the plundered art objects that came into the hands of the ERR | Einstatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg in German-occupied France and Belgium which were processed through the Jeu de Paume between late 1940 and August 1944.
  • FBI | Federal Bureau of Investigation - Art Theft.
  • FINE ART AUCTION HOUSES - askART.
  • Hagi Top Index - overall market measure for exceptional historic automobiles designed to measure the rare collector's automobile market, ranging from pre-war to the new millenium.
  • How Debbie Reynolds amassed a priceless Hollywood memorabilia collection - then lost it - The Telegraph.
  • How offshore firm helped billionaire change the art world for ever - The Guardian.
  • IARTBROKER - "iartbroker is an exciting way of doing business online for the art market. The aim of the site is simply to match buyers and sellers by using sophisticated software, technology and the power of the world wide web."
  • LISTING OF INTERNATIONAL AUCTION HOUSES A-Z
  • lootedart.com - Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945.
  • Lost Art Internet Database - since 1994. Run by the Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, Germany’s central office for the documentation of lost cultural property and registers cultural objects which as a result of persecution under the Nazi dictatorship and the Second World War were relocated, moved or seized, especially from Jewish owners.
  • Purchasing Fine Art Is Increasingly Just a Click Away - The New York Times.
  • Sotheby’s, Christie’s & Phillips Take Different Paths to ‘Sold!’ - The New York Times.
  • Sotheby's Institute of Art - since 1969. An institution of higher education devoted to the study of art and its markets with campuses in London (UK), New York City and Los Angeles (USA). The Institute offers full time accredited Master’s degrees as well as a range of postgraduate certificates, summer, semester and online courses, public programmes and executive education.
  • THEA WESTREICH ART ADVISORY SERVICES - professional consulting firm with expertise in Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Photography.
  • Third Place? In Auction World, Phillips Is Making Strides - The New York Times.
  • Top 100 Most Collectible Living Artists 2015 - Artnet News.
  • UK AUCTION HOUSES
  • UNIDROIT - Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (Rome, 1955).
  • Who'll start the bidding? Learning the Ropes of Auctioneering - The New York Times.
  • Top 100 Art Auctions | Auction Houses | Auctioneers

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • ACKER AUCTIONS - wine auctions.
  • AGUTTES - since 1995. Neuilly sur Seine, Drouot, Lyon, Deauville.
  • ALEXANDER AUTOGRAPHS - "One of the largest auction houses for guaranteed authentic autographs, rare historical documents and manuscripts, civil war memorabilia." Stamford, CT, U.S.A.
  • ALEXANDER HISTORICAL AUCTIONS - "Auctioneers of historic militaria and autographs." 98 Bohemia Ave., Suite 2, Chesapeake City, MD 21915, U.S.A.
  • Amati - "Violin auction house and online marketplace."
  • AMERICAN AUCTIONEERS - founded in 1983. Riverside, CA, U.S.A. "California's #1 Auction Team!"
  • ANTIQUORUM AUCTIONEERS - the world's premier watch auctioneer since 1974.
  • ARTCURIAL - Paris, France. International auctioneers. Offers more than 100 auction sales each year.
  • Artemisia Auctions - 49, rue Laffitte, 75009 Paris, France. Sell or buy objets d'art and collectibles at the Hotel Drouot auction rooms with the guarantee of receiving professional, efficient service of the highest standard.
  • ARTFACT - "Find - Bid - Win." Bid online in live auctions. Antique, collectible & estate auctions.
  • ARTNET - "The Art World Online. Our online Gallery Network is the largest of its kind, with over 2,200 galleries in over 250 cities worldwide, more than 166,000 artworks by over 39,000 artists from around the globe."
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • BAINBRIDGES AUCTIONEERS - Ruislip, Middlesex, U.K.
  • Barnebys - Stockholm, Sweden. "All auctions in one place." On Barnebys you will find everything you’re looking for in arts, antiques and collectibles. We gather auctions and art dealers from every corner of the world and make them accessible to everyone. It’s simple and it’s free.
  • BARRETT-JACKSON - "The World's Greatest Collector Car Events".
  • BEAUSSANT LEFÈVRE - Paris, France.
  • Bidding For Good - since 2003. "Fundraising Auctions That Work For You." We provide a unique online auction platform, where nonprofits, schools, consumers and businesses converge to create dynamic and exciting fundraising events and ultimately, to raise more money for the causes we care so much about. With the help of over 8,000 customers and the 400,000+ shoppers in our Bidder Community, we have created a new category of shopping, Charitable Commerce.
  • BILLIONAIRE XCHANGE - online luxury auctions.
  • Binoche et Giquello - 5, rue la Boétie, Paris, France.
  • BOND LIFESTYLE AUCTIONS - James Bond memorabilia, and more.
  • BONHAMS - international fine art auctioneers & valuers. Founded in 1793.
  • BONHAMS & BUTTERFIELDS - U.S.A.
  • BRUUN RASMUSSEN AUCTIONEERS - Copenhagen, Denmark. One of Denmark’s oldest auction houses and among the largest in Scandinavia. It is established in 1948.
  • BUKOWSKIS - Stockholm, Sweden.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • C & T Auctions - "Consistently Achieving Higher Prices at Auction." Specialist Auctioneers of Vintage Toys & Militaria. Kent, England, U.K.
  • CHRISTIE'S - international fine arts auctioneers. Founded in 1766.
  • COLLECT SPACE - the source for space history and artifacts. Space history, space memorabilia, and space collectibles.
  • COMIC CONNECT - "The Online Marketplace for Buyers & Sellers!"
  • CORINPHILA - "Tradition and Experience in Classic Philately since 1925."
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • DAVID FELDMAN PHILATELISTS AUCTIONEERS - Geneva, Switzerland. "Your reliable partner over 40 years."
  • DEUTSCHER-MENZIES FINE ART AUCTION HOUSE
  • Dix Noonan Webb | DNW - established in 1990. UK's leading specialist auctioneers and valuers of coins, tokens, medals, militaria and paper money of all types.
  • DOROTHEUM - founded in 1707. Vienna, Austria. International auctioneers.
  • DOYLE NEW YORK - auctioneers & appraisers.
  • DROUOT - Paris, France. Founded in 1852. Hôtel Drouot is a large auction house in Paris, known for fine art, antiques, and antiquities. It consists of 16 halls hosting 70 independent auction firms, which operate under the umbrella grouping of Drouot.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • eBAY - an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide.
  • Expertissim - "Buy and sell appraised works of art."
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • FAME BUREAU - "The Fame Bureau is the world's premier auction house for rock and film memorabilia." Mayfair, London, U.K.
  • FREEMAN'S - auctioneers & appraisers since 1805. Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • GARDINER HOULGATE - "The Bath Auction Rooms." Corsham, Wiltshire, U.K.
  • GASTON & SHEEHAN AUCTIONEERS - Pflugerville, TX, U.S.A. sells all the jewelry, art, antiques, gold, silver and collectibles seized and forfeited nationally for the U.S. Marshals Service.
  • GOODING & COMPANY (PEBBLE BEACH AUCTIONS) - "Quality is our Style." Automotive auction house based in Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.
  • GOTTA HAVE ROCK AND ROLL - "The Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction." Since 2008 online auction site devoted to rock and roll and pop art. 153 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022, U.S.A.
  • GSA Auctions | General Services Administration - goernment site for auctions. "U.S. government offers the general public the opportunity to bid electronically on a wide array of federal assets."
  • GUERNSEY'S - Auctioneers & Brokers Since 1975. "The Unique at Auction. For three decades Guernsey's has built a reputation as an auction house known for the presentation of extraordinary properties. From the largest auction in history (the contents of the ocean liner S.S. United States) to vintage racing cars on to pre-Castro Cuban cigars and the $3 million McGwire baseball, we have few rivals when it comes to the presentation of wildly diverse art and artifacts." 108 East 73rd Street, New York, NY, U.S.A.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • H & H - Warrington, Cheshire, U.K. Auctioneers of fine historic motor cars, motorcycles, bicycles & automobilia.
  • H.R. HARMER - "Fine Stamp Auctions, Since 1940."
  • HEINRICH KÖHLER - founded 1913. Germany's oldest stamp auction house.
  • Hemmings - "World’s Largest Collector Car Marketplace." The bible of the collector car hobby: We've been around since 1954, and if you can't find it in Hemmings, it probably doesn't exist!
  • HENRY ALDRIDGE & SON - Wiltshire, England. "The Devizes Auctioneers." The leading auctioneers of Titanic memorabilia in the World.
  • HERITAGE AUCTIONS - "The World's Third Largest Auction House." Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • INTERNATIONAL AUCTIONEERS - eight independent auction houses working together, around the world.
  • INTERNATIONAL AUTOGRAPH AUCTIONS - Britain’s leading specialist auctioneers of autograph letters, signed photographs and historical documents.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • JACK-PHILIPPE RUELLAN - Vannes, France.
  • JAMES LIST - "The World's Largest Luxury marketplace." Featuring more than 65,000 private jets, yachts, exotic cars, exclusive watches and luxury homes from more than 1,200 trusted dealers around the world. JamesList helps you find the best of the best, whether you are in the market to buy or to find the perfect private jet or luxury yacht to charter.
  • JOHN BULL STAMP AUCTIONS - since 1977. Hong Kong.
  • JOHN TAYLORS ESTATE AGENTS AND AUCTIONEERS - Louth and Market Rasen, England.
  • JULIEN'S AUCTIONS - "The Auction House to The Stars." Entertainment memorabilia; Hollywood memoralia; Rock memoralia & Beatles. 9665 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 150, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, U.S.A.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • KERRY TAYLOR AUCTIONS - London, England. Leading specialists in antique, vintage fashion & textiles.
  • KEYS FINE ART AUCTIONEERS - Norfolk, United Kingdom.
  • KINSKY KUNST AUKTIONEN - Vienna, Austria.
  • KOLLER - Zurich, Switzerland. International auctioneers. One of the world's leading auction houses, with locations from London to Shanghai.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • LAURITZ.COM - Denmark, Sweden, Norway & Germany.
  • LEGENDARY AUCTIONS - "Auction of Exceptional Sports Memorabilia, Americana & Photography.".
  • LEMPERTZ - founded 1845. "One of the leading auction houses in Europe and the eldest in family posession." Cologne, Germany. International auctioneers.
  • LESLIS HINDMAN AUCTIONEERS - specializing in fine furniture and decorative arts; fine art; fine books and manuscripts; fine jewelry and timepieces; and vintage couture and accessories.
  • LOS ANGELES MODERN AUCTIONS - since 1992. Van Nuys, CA, U.S.A. Specializes in selling 20th century Modern Art & Design.
  • LUXURY DIVISION - "The world's premier luxury e-store to buy and sell unused, unwanted and gently used luxury and designer items."
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • MACDOUGALL'S - London, England. Specialists in Russian art.
  • MAYO AUCTION & REALTY - Missouri and Kansas auctions, U.S.A.
  • MECUM AUCTIONS - "The world leader in live auctions of collector cars, classic cars, corvettes, hot rods, street rods and muscle cars." Collector cars, road art and celebrity memorabilia.
  • MCTEAR'S AUCTIONEERS - since 1842. Glasgow, Scotland.
  • MORRELL & COMPANY FINE WINE AUCTIONS
  • MULLOCK'S - Church Stretton, Shropshire, England. Europe's premier auction house specialising in sporting collectibles, fishing memorabilia, historical documents and ephemera.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • NATE D. SANDERS AUCTIONS - Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. Autographs, autographed photos, collectibles, historical documents, memorabilia, rare books and signed letters.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • OLD WEST SHOW & AUCTION - Denver, CO, U.S.A. Western art, antiques & collectibles.
  • OMEGA AUCTIONS - Sale, Cheshire, U.K. "Specialist auction house for Vinyl Records, Music Memorabilia, TV & Film Memorabilia, Wrist Watches, Pocket Watches, Fine Wine, Port & Spirits."
  • Osenat - Fontainebleau, France. Auction House for fine art and antiques.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • Paddle8 - "Art and Design Auctions | The auction house for the 21st-century collector." Marketplace for collectors, presenting auctions of extraordinary art and objects.
  • PATRIZZI & CO. - international timepieces' auctioneers headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • PFC AUCTIONS - Guernsey, Channel Islands. Boutique online auction business specialising in world class Art, Antiques and Collectibles.
  • PIASA - Paris, France.
  • PIERRE BERGÉ ASSOCIATES - auction house for fine art and antiques.
  • PHILLIPS - founded in London in 1796, with current headquarters in New York City.
  • PORRO & C. ART CONSULTING - Milan, Italy. International auctioneers.
  • PROFILES IN HISTORY - Calabasas Hills, CA, U.S.A. The world’s largest auctioneer of original Hollywood memorabilia and U.S.'s leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.
  • Prop Store - since 1998. "Ultimate Movie Collectables." Treasures from the world of film & Television. Entertainment memorabilia. Live auctions.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • RAAB COLLECTION - "Autograph Dealers Raab Collection Specializes in Buying and Selling Rare Historical Documents and Autographs."
  • RM AUCTIONS - "RM Auctions is the global leader in the collector car auction industry. Our specialized services include auctions, restoration, appraisals, collection advice, private treaties, and estate sales. We offer the world´s finest cars to the most discerning collectors from around the globe."
  • ROGALLERY.COM AUCTIONS - online auction site where you can bid online in both Live & Timed Auctions.
  • RR Auction - "Headquartered in Boston’s North End, RR Auction is a globally recognized and trusted source for rare documents, manuscripts, autographs, and historic artifacts. Since its inception in 1980, RR has achieved countless record-setting prices in over 425 successful sales, including Truman Capote’s hand-notated manuscript for Breakfast at Tiffany’s for over $300,000, President Kennedy’s 1963 convertible for $318,000, and a pair of Bonnie and Clyde’s guns for over $500,000."
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • Silverstone Auctions - Silverstone House, Kineton Rd, Gaydon, U.K. "Auctioneers & Valuers of Classic Cars, Modern Cars, Racing Cars, Rally Cars, Motorcycles and associated memorabilia."
  • SOTHEBY'S - world's fourth oldest international auction house, founded in 1804.
  • SOTHEBY'S DIAMONDS - "A Marriage of Jewellery and Art."
  • SOTHEBY'S GENEVA - jewellery, watches, and other collectibles auctions.
  • SPECTRUM WINE AUCTIONS - "Launched in 2009, Spectrum Wine Auctions is the world’s newest live and online auction house of fine collectible wine."
  • STACK'S BOWERS - "America's Oldest and Most Accomplished Coin Auctioneer."
  • STOCKHOLMS AUKTIONSVERK - the world's oldest auction house in continuous operation, founded in 1674. Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Summers Place Auctions - "The world's leading auctioneers of Garden Statuary and Fossil Decoration."
  • SWANN AUCTION GALLERIES - New York City, NY, U.S.A. International auctioneers.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • TAJAN - Paris, France. Leading French Auction House, specialized in fine art, antiques and collectables.
  • TARISIO - founded in 1999 is an internet-based auction house dedicated to fine stringed instruments and bows.
  • TATTERSALLS - "Europe's Leading Bloodstock Auctioneer." Founded in 1766 by Richard Tattersall, Tattersalls is the oldest bloodstock auctioneers in the world and the largest in Europe. Today, Tattersalls is an international firm offering 10,000 thoroughbred horses each year at 15 sales at either its Newmarket headquarters in England, or at Fairyhouse outside Dublin, in Ireland.
  • TELETRADE - coins & currency auctions.
  • THE FAME BUREAU - "The Fame Bureau is the world's premier auction house for rock and film memorabilia." Mayfair, London, U.K.
  • The Potomack Company Auctioneers - Alexandria, VA, U.S.A.
  • THE ROCK & ROLL POP ART AUCTION - the ultimate destination for fully authenticated sports, entertainment, rock'n'roll and historical memorabilia.
  • THE-SALEROOM.COM - "Bid online at real auctions." Search through 1000s of auction catalogues. Watch & listen to auctions from your own home. Buy online at established auctioneers around the world.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • W.A. BOLIN - one of Northern Europe’s leading auctions for quality jewellery, silver objects and precious ornaments.
  • WILFORDS AUCTIONS - Wellingborough, Northants, Northamptonshire, England. Founded in 1934.
  • WINEBID.COM - the largest Internet auction for fine and rare wines.
  • WYLES HARDY & CO - England. Leading independent firms of consultant machinery and business asset valuers and auctioneers.
  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • ZACHYS WINE AUCTIONS - since 1994.
  • Zisska & Schauer - since 1893. Munich, Germany. International specialists in rare antiquarian books and prints.
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