Once you have begun reading Hildesley's book, a mental image appears of a silver-haired chap reclining in a well-aged leather wing chair and occasionally puffing on a pipe, relating his tales of the auction bidding wars. As a lifetime employee and now executive of Sotheby's, Hildesley instructs deftly and expertly, explaining all the ins and outs of this public selling process. First, statistics astound us: for instance, 80 percent of all auctioned objects sell for less than $5,000, and experienced auctioneers can sell two lots a minute. Then we're invited to an insider's view of the process: determination of value and quality, the details of buying and selling at auction, the actual process (including a vocabulary), and other services provided, from lectures and appraisals to on-site sales. What could have been an extraordinarily dry subject is enlivened both by the author's dedication to the business and by personal, candid anecdotes--some droll, some serious. An introduction, with a few commercial asides, to participate in the sport of millionaires that might intrigue even the average John and Jane Doe. Barbara Jacobs
About the Author
C. Hugh Hildesley is executive vice president for North and South America at Sotheby's in New York. He is an accomplished auctioneer and lecturer on all aspects of the business.