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Sotheby’s auction house started out in 1744 when a guy called Samuel Barker sold several hundred books in an annual sale. Ten years later he decided to hire out a larger premises in Covent Garden.
Sotheby’s main rival for two hundred years was the auction house Christie’s, but by the mid 20th-century Sotheby’s had overtaken their sales. That remained the case until the 1990s, when Christie’s embarked on a series of high-profile art sales.
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