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The traditional auction house was founded in London in 1744 by the bookseller Samuel Baker (+1778), later joined by George Leigh (+1816) and Baker's nephew John Sotheby (1740-1807). The last member of the eponymous Sotheby family died in 1861. Sotheby's is thus about 15 years older than its direct competitor Christie's. The first auction took place on 11 March 1744 and included a few hundred valuable books. Over the years, the business field expanded to include prints, medals, coins and paintings, and ultimately also expensive wine rarities. In 1964, the American auction house Parke-Bernet was acquired, making Sotheby's the largest US auction house. Until 1977, Sotheby's was a British joint-stock company. In 1982, the company's headquarters were moved to New York and one year later the company was taken over by the US businessman Alfred Taubman. Around 1,500 employees work at 90 locations in 40 countries; around 300 auctions are held worldwide every year. In 2013, sales of $854 million were achieved.

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The world's largest Lexicon of wine terms.

26,076 Keywords · 46,829 Synonyms · 5,324 Translations · 31,411 Pronunciations · 186,809 Cross-references
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