Sotheby's And Christie's Open Their Exclusive Doors A Little Wider

Elite auctioneers Sotheby's and Christie's look for new customers

Sharon Lancaster, a middle-class mother of one, never thought she would be bidding away in the tony London confines of Christie's. Yet when she saw the auction catalog for some Modern Design furniture and decorations, the bug bit her. Most of the items were expected to sell for under $5,000. That was still a stretch for the 35-year-old Lancaster, but she decided to splurge. As it turned out, she was outbid for a 1958 Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair. Still, Lancaster enjoyed the thrill. "At first I felt frightened," she admits. "But it was dead easy. I'll definitely come again."

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