We often hear that working at auction houses entails hard work and low pay, but it’s hard to pass up the glamour of working at Christie’s.

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In less than a decade the common perception of auctions has changed dramatically. Auctions used to be reserved mostly for the wealthy, but now much of the world’s auctioneering happens on eBay, managed by a computer. An auction is the purest way to sell an item, for the person who values the item the most typically wins. It’s quite democratic that the luxury of this form of sale has been brought to the masses, but much of the culture and tradition associated with auctions has been lost in translation. Luckily, auction houses like Christie’s have adapted to the online world while maintaining their auras of international glamour. Founded in 1766, Christie’s is now the “world’s leading art business with global auction sales in 2007 that totaled $6.3 billion.”

Going Once, Going Twice

To many the idea of a live auction is extremely intimidating. The prices seem exorbitant, the cultural norms are hard to figure out, and there’s always a chance that you will lose control of yourself and bid more than you can afford. The truth is that even Christie’s, one of the most respected names in the industry, can be quite approachable. The prices of items that they sell range from $200 to over $80 million – there’s certainly some room in there for almost anyone. Christie’s also offers an online video introduction as well as guides on How to Buy and How to Sell at their auctions. Christie’s main focuses are on fine art, jewelry, photographs, wine, furniture; however, they are likely to deal in almost anything that generates cultural interest.

Sold! to the College Kid Sitting in the Back Row

Christie’s has “85 offices in 43 countries and 14 salerooms around the world including London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Dubai and Hong Kong.” At a few of these locations, they appear to be hiring at the entry-level. Their Careers site is simple to navigate, but quite light on information. For instance, they have job listed in New York, but there are no descriptions for the jobs. Openings such as Exhibition Coordinator (Jewelry), Inventory Controller (Jewelry), Senior Administrative Assistant/Junior Writer (Proposals), and Junior Specialist/Sale Coordinator (Sporting/Maritime/19th Century Paintings) all sound like they could be perfect for a new college grad, but there’s just no way of knowing without contacting them. Their job listings outside of North America, such as Junior Specialist (South-East Asian Art) in Singapore, do include job descriptions, which is strange.

We often hear that working at auction houses entails hard work and low pay, but it’s hard to pass up the glamour of working at Christie’s. We wish that we could tell you more, but you’ll have to do the rest of the research on your own. It will be good practice for becoming an expert in 19th Century Sporting Paintings, or whatever you choose to pursue.

Links to Help You Begin Your Research

What’s your auction experience? eBay? Live auction? Date auction?

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