Auctioneer talks about thrills of the job, Elton John's auction details

Monday, March 4, 2024
Auctioneer talks about thrills of the job, biggest sales
Sandy Kenyon has more.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Sir Elton John's clothing and jewelry, paintings, and photographs from just one of his residences, sold for more than $20 million at Christie's Auction House in Midtown.

The total is twice as much as expected thanks to the performer's fame and the enduring appeal of his music, but it's also a testament to the skill of the auctioneers.

An auctioneer's job is equal parts sales and showmanship: art meets commerce every time the gavel falls.

"It's that special moment when you're coming to this crescendo. You're almost at the final moment, that pregnant pause, and then the gavel falls," said Tash Perrin, Christie's Auction House.

Perrin has been doing this long enough to earn the title of Deputy Chairman at Christie's, but the sale of items owned by Sir Elton John still represented a highlight.

Alongside some of the colorful outfits, his signature eyewear was also up for bid, along with artwork and the piano from his Atlanta apartment.

"Through this collection you really get a glimpse of not only what he found very interesting and what he was passionate about, but also the world around him," Perrin said.

His pride and joy, a Bentley convertible went for $350,000. Her job is to secure the highest possible price but each and every item, both large and small.

"You got to realize you got 50 lots to get through. You really got to keep the pace, Perrin said.

Buyers can bid in the room, but also on the phone and via the Internet.

"When that last bid comes in on Christie's live, where you're just about to bring the gavel down, and those can be the fun moments," Perrin said.

Bring the gavel down too fast and the item will sell for less than it could have earned. No wonder the pressure isn't for everyone.

"There are so many people that think this is going to be so much fun, and they taste their first five lots, and they say, 'This is not for me,' and they leave. And, then there are a couple of people who say, 'You know what? This is really fun,'" Perrin said.

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