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Who holds the record for the most expensive work of art to go under the hammer, rather than to be sold privately?
An art auction or fine art auction is the sale of art works, in most cases in an auction house.
In England this dates from the latter part of the 17th century, when in most cases the names of the auctioneers were suppressed. In June 1693, John Evelyn mentions a "great auction of pictures (Lord Melfort's) in the Banqueting House, Whitehall", and the practice is frequently referred to by other contemporary and later writers.
Normally, an auction catalog, that lists the art works to be sold, is written and made available well before the auction date.
Some of the best known auction houses are Christie's and Sotheby's. The oldest auction house is Stockholm Auction House (Stockholms Auktionsverk). It was established in Sweden in 1674.

The Top Luxury Auction Houses