The Gavel: 

When I was training to be a Phillips auctioneer, my coach gifted me one of her old wooden gavels. 

I like thinking of its history every time I pick it up.

Good Luck Ritual: 

Pancakes! Always pancakes the night before an auction, preferably from a diner with a side of scrambled eggs. (A loved one gave me a gift after seeing me auctioneer for the first time in person: a ceramic plate with plastic pancakes on it.)

Most Memorable Bang: 

Immediately before an auction, I take a deep breath, step up to the podium, pick up my gavel, exhale, and give it a bang. 

It’s what settles me, kicks it all off, and gets me in the rhythm. So the first bang of the auction—that’s always the best and most important.

SARAH KRUEGER, Phillips’ Head of Photographs, New York.

MORNING, LADIES!/DAYBREAK: Cornelius Annor, acrylic on canvas,132.5 x 160 cm, 2017. Signed lower left; title verso. Private collection, purchased from the artist.


The Hammer:

My gavel was made in England, and given to me by Hugh Edmeades (the former Christie’s chairman of auctioneering) when I completed my auctioneer training in 2010.

 I love it because the handle is removable. 

It’s made from African Blackwood, and there’s a lovely heft to it. 

When I trained in Beijing to obtain the official PRC auctioneer license, my fellow trainees were fascinated by my two-in-one gavel, made in England, which is where this style of open-cry ascending auctions originated in the 18th century.

Good Luck Ritual: 

I get my three children to kiss my gavel good luck before each auction. They love being a part of the action!

Most Memorable Bang: 

Once, I went up on the rostrum and realized I forgot my gavel! I tried to make my frantic “I need a gavel!!” gestures as subtle and professional as possible. I opened the lot and sold it, and someone handed me a gavel just in time to strike it down.

ELAINE KWOK, Director, Chairman’s Office, Christie’s Asia

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