A New Record from Sotheby’s – 7.3 Billion Dollars in 2021

Sotheby’s has announced its 2021 sales results and it’s record breaking! 277 years old auction house has reached the highest sales figure with 7.3 billion dollars sale this year. The figures have increased by 71% compared to 2020 with the ongoing pandemic. Moreover, Sotheby’s explains the biggest reason behind this record is the young collectors who closely follow technology and buy a lot of luxurious items such as jewelry, wine, handbags, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) during the pandemic. Besides, with the continuing auctions until the end of the year, the figures will even rise more. 


The auction house, which has 80 offices across the world, including its headquarters in New York, was founded in London in 1744. After 277 years of its foundation, Sotheby’s sold 57 pieces, each costing more than 15 million dollars in 2021. Among the 57 pieces sold, the Sandro Botticelli’s painting holds the record with 92.2 million dollars, which is the Portrait of a Young Man holding a Roundel.

Portrait of a Young Man holding a Roundel by Sandro Botticelli. Photo Source: Sotheby’s

Another record has also been reached with the most expensive trainers ever auctioned belonging to Kanye West. The Nike Air Yeezys were worn in the 2008 Grammys by Kanye and sold for 1.8 million dollars

The Nike Air Yeezys were worn by Kanye in 2008 Grammys. Photo Source: Sotheby’s

On the other hand, modern and contemporary art hit the records with 4.3 billion dollars sales across auction and private sales. Besides, Sotheby’s hosted the first auction of NFTs in 2021, selling 16.8 million dollars in three days. In this way, it has attracted the young collectors and investors as aforementioned, who have a big impact on this year’s sales. In 2021, 47% of bidders were newcomers and the customer numbers under age 40 have increased 187% by this year.

Other than NFTs, young collectors are also interested in physical works. Founder of the cryptocurrency platform Tron, Justin Sun, has made a purchase of 78.4 million dollars for Alberto Giacometti’s Le Nez.

Le Nez by Alberto Giacometti. Photo Source: Sotheby’s

These records came with the speculations that the French owner, Patrick Drahi, might be thinking to float the company on the stock market as it’s getting bigger and reaching high numbers of sales, according to Bloomberg. As the stock market gets more digitalized with crypto money, it would not be an unexpected and unreasonable move. Drahi has bought the auction house in a 3.7 billion dollars deal in 2019 and nobody can deny that it was a good investment.

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