Phillips (auctioneers)

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Typeprivate company
Founded1796; 227 years ago (1796)
FounderHarry Phillips
United Kingdom
ParentMercury Group

Phillips, formerly known as Phillips the Auctioneers and briefly as Phillips de Pury, is a British auction house. It was founded in London in 1796, and has head offices in London and in New York City.[1] In 2022 it was owned by the Mercury Group, a Russian luxury goods company.[2]


Phillips was founded in 1796 by Harry Phillips, who had been a clerk to James Christie. The business held twelve auctions in its first year and soon became successful. Napoleon and Beau Brummel were among the early patrons. Harry Phillips died in 1840, and the business passed to his son William Augustus, who renamed it Phillips & Son; when his son-in-law Frederick Neale joined in 1882, the company became Phillips, Son & Neale. It was renamed Phillips in the 1970s;[1] it was usually referred to as Phillips, the Auctioneers. In 1998, the company bought Selkirk, then a 168-year-old St. Louis auction house.[3]

In 1999 a majority stake in the company was sold to venture capitalists 3i, who resold it shortly after for a considerable profit.[citation needed] The company was bought in 1999 by Bernard Arnault of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton.[1][4] After a series of disastrous sales and extremely heavy losses, the UK operations were sold to Bonhams in 2001 and merged into that company.[5] Most of the rump of the business was closed; some smaller departments were acquired by Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg, who traded under the name Phillips de Pury & Company.[6] In 2002 Simon de Pury acquired majority control of the firm.[1]

On 6 October 2008, the company was purchased by the Russian Mercury Group,[1] which paid approximately $60 million for it.[citation needed] De Pury sold his remaining shares to Mercury in late 2012, and left the company.[7] The name was changed back to Phillips.[6][7]

In December 2018 the company signed a contract for retail space at 432 Park Avenue including the Park Avenue Cube beside the tower, with approximately 5000 m2 (55000 sq ft) at the base of the tower and a further 3000 m2 (30000 sq ft) underground.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e About us. Phillips. Accessed June 2018.
  2. ^ Ben Quinn (9 March 2022). Russia oligarchs still able to exploit UK art market loopholes, experts say. The Guardian. Accessed April 2023.
  3. ^ Carol Vogel (3 April 1998), Joining the Team New York Times.
  4. ^ Eileen Kinsella (14 October 2008). Russian Luxury Retailer Acquires Phillips de Pury & Company. ARTNews. Accessed January 2014.
  5. ^ Julia Finch (14 July 2001). Bonhams and Phillips confirm merger. The Guardian. Accessed April 2023.
  6. ^ a b Brian Boucher (21 December 2012). Simon de Pury Resigns from Phillips de Pury. Art in America. Archived 21 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b Sarah Douglas (1 January 2013). Phillips, Sans Simon: What’s Next for Simon de Pury and Phillips Now That They’ve Parted Ways. The New York Observer. Archived 2 January 2015.
  8. ^ Robin Pogrebin (16 December 2018). Phillips Auction House Is Moving to a New Space. The New York Times. Archived 4 June 2019.
  9. ^ Steve Cuozzo (18 December 2018). Park Ave. lease gives Harry Macklowe something to smile about. New York Post. Archived 17 December 2019.
  10. ^ Nicholas Rizzi (17 December 2018). Phillips Auction House Moving Next Door to 55K SF at 432 Park Avenue. Commercial Observer. Archived 17 December 2019.