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Bidding for Class

n absorbing account of life inside the world's oldest and richest auction house, this book brings to life the personalities, ambition and shrewd business dealing which operate behind the glamour and glitz of Sotheby's as its experts compete with their only significant rival, Christie's.

Sotheby's makes its money by persuading those who are already laden with material goods that their happiness depends on owning still more. Their rummage sales for the rich snare collectors who are willing to pay headline-grabbing sums because, ultimately, they are in search of something beyond mere objects: they are bidding for class.

The book opens with the secrets of the fabled sale of the possessions of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - and concludes with Mohamed Al Fayed's spectacular disposal of the goods of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

"This is no on-your-knees, aren't they wonderful corporate biography. It's a well-researched, largely accurate, acute, sometimes very funny analysis of a company which steps from scandal and hot water into the sunlight of success every month of the year" Godfrey Barker, LITERARY REVIEW

"Written by the same old pacy, racy Lacey familiar to us from his royal books ... his talent for winkling out piquant detail is at its best" Bevis Hillier, SPECATOR

1998 - Little, Brown & Company ISBN:0316511390

Book Robert Lacey as a public speaker

Robert Lacey's other website about life in modern Saudi Arabia