Phillips 2021: A Record-Smashing Year

Our most successful year in company history surpassed $1 billion in global sales.

Our most successful year in company history surpassed $1 billion in global sales.

Auctioneer Danielle So at Phillips' 29-30 November 20th Century & Contemporary Art sales in Hong Kong.

 

2021 Marks Phillips’ Most Successful Year in Company History

This year's global sales achieved $1.2 billion, a 32% increase compared to 2019. Auction sales realized a total of $993.3 million, up 35% compared to 2019, with a 91% sell-through rate across all sales, among the highest in the industry. At time of publishing, Private sales to date achieved $208.2 million, up 21% compared to 2019.

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AUCTION ROOM

  • Phillips Watches saw a White Glove year, selling 100% of lots offered at auction across Geneva, Hong Kong, and New York and achieving an annual total of $209.3 million – both firsts for any auction house
  • At $172.5 million, Phillips achieved its highest total in company history with its 17-18 November 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening and Day Sales in New York
  • Of the top ten lots sold by Phillips in 2021, 5 went to buyers in Asia, illustrating that Asia-based collectors are active on a masterwork level
  • Georgia O’Keeffe’s Crab’s Claw Ginger Hawaii was acquired in the New York Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art by the Long Museum in Shanghai, where it will soon be displayed
  • Phillips continues to have a record-breaking year in Asia in 2021, with auction sales in Hong Kong realizing over HK$2.1 billion/ US$270 million, nearly double the results of the previous year

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Phillips' new global headquarters at 432 Park Avenue.

Destination: Phillips

In June, Phillips unveiled its new headquarters in New York at 432 Park Avenue to great acclaim. Designed by Markus Dochantschi of StudioMDA, the space redefines the centuries-old auction experience as 432 Park Avenue is the only auction room in Manhattan visible from the street. From the facade to the floor plan, Phillips' versatile new space is easily transformed to enable the best curatorial approach in the industry.


NOTABLE FEATURES

  • 40,000 square feet of gallery space across four levels, including a sunken mezzanine allowing for street-level views into the auction room and galleries
  • Column-free interior affording unobstructed sightlines during live auctions, exhibitions and events
  • The Cube: a white-glass modernist structure of more than 5,000 square feet with direct access from Park Avenue in the heart of Manhattan

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Rendering of Phillips' new Asia Headquarters in the WKCDA Tower.

Reinforcing its commitment to the Asia Pacific region, Phillips will open its new Asia headquarters in the vibrant West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong in Fall 2022, featuring a permanent purpose-built exhibition space and saleroom allowing for year-round events and auctions in its own space. Designed by world-renowned architecture practice Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with TPF Farells and Arup, Phillips’ new Asia headquarters will be situated immediately opposite to the newly opened M+ and neighboring the Hong Kong Palace Museum scheduled to open in mid-2022.


NOTABLE FEATURES

  • Over 48,000 square feet spreading over a total of six floors, including three lower retail floors, two upper floors of purpose-built exhibition space, and one floor dedicated to office space.
  • A triple height space with a 14-metre-tall glass window façade overlooking the Victoria Harbour will be a key architectural feature and provide natural light for optimal viewing of artworks.
  • Located in the strategic transport hub for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, the WKCDA Tower enjoys direct access to the Hong Kong International Airport and various cities in Mainland China via the High Speed Rail.

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Phillips Welcomes CEO Stephen Brooks

In September, Stephen Brooks joined the company as Chief Executive Officer, working alongside Edward Dolman, Phillips' Executive Chairman, and Cheyenne Westphal, Global Chairwoman.

"What motivated me to join Phillips was that, while we remain a highly efficient organization with all the technology and services of a traditional auction house, we are nevertheless inherently unique. We serve our clients across six collecting categories rather than being thinly spread across a more traditional mix; a deliberate decision to be the best in our chosen fields. A focus on the most vibrant and growing categories in the market has allowed us to lead innovation in these fields. As a progressive auction house at the forefront of digital innovation, our goal has been consistent: whether online or in person, we deliver the most exceptional and accessible client experience in the business."

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Digital Milestones and Online-Only Sales

Online-only sold totals increased by 417% since 2019 and by 68% from 2020, marking a record year for the channel. Phillips saw digital engagement increase by 25%, with an 20% increase in web traffic and a 26% increase in new clients visiting the website compared with 2020. Phillips became a destination for NFTs in April, with Mad Dog Jones innovative REPLICATOR realizing over $4.1 million, making him the most expensive living Canadian artist.

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE DIGITAL SALE ROOM

  • 50% of all buyers across online-only and live auctions were first-time buyers at Phillips, with strong input from online-only sales
  • 44,000 new online accounts were created throughout 2021
  • 50% of lots Phillips sold to online buyers across live auctions, up from 32% in 2019
  • 100% of NFTs have sold across live and online-only sales, empowering Phillips to engage with a new audience: 88% of bidders in Phillips’ first NFT auction were new to the company

 


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