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Christie’s Rakes In $6.2B In 2023, A Major Step Down From Last Year

Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s chief executive, announced their annual revenue as $6.2 billion – about $2 billion less than in 2022.

The vast dip accounts for a decrease of 25 percent year-on-year; for any auction house, this would be a huge concern. However, Guillaume Cerutti is not too worried, largely thanks to the anomaly known as Paul Allen. In 2022, Paul Allen’s huge art collection hit Christie’s auction block and single-handedly brought in $1.5 billion in sales. The auction created history as the highest sales generated from a single-collection auction.

As such, Christie’s was always up against an unfair battle when announcing 2023’s numbers. Perhaps for this reason, the auction house decided to present last year’s numbers both with and without the Paul Allen sale. Excluding the Allen auction, Christie’s $6.2 billion revenue in 2023 still falls short by about 7 percent compared to the $6.7 billion it made last year. $5.02 billion came from auction sales, while another $1.2 billion came from private sales.

For Guillaume Cerutti, however, it was the sell-through rate – not the total revenues – that was the most important metric for the auction house. Christie’s sell-through rate in 2023 was an impressive 84 percent; it was lower, but comparable, to 2022. As per Cerutti, the sell-through rate remains the first metric sellers look at when consigning their works to auction houses. Answering questions about guarantees affecting this metric, Cerutti assured that most of the works hitting the auction block at Christie’s came without guarantees.