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Collection Agents

Phillips de Pury makes a bid for first-time auction buyers.

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The city is overflowing with young folk who will shell out $1,000 for, say, a pair of boots, but who are too intimidated to walk into an art auction. Phillips de Pury is attempting to demystify the experience. On September 17, the Chelsea auction house will launch a series of sales called Saturdays@Phillips, with starting prices around $500 (maxing out around $20,000). The idea is that the same people who curate their apartments at the Hell’s Kitchen flea market and Jonathan Adler will add the Saturday sale to their weekend routes. To that end, the catalogues will mix contemporary art with photography and furniture. Even buyers with only cocktail-party knowledge of the art world will recognize quite a few names: The first sale includes Eames furniture, prints by Takashi Murakami, and Nan Goldin snapshots. Photography, in fact, is the medium that new buyers usually feel bravest about, says Phillips’s Rick Wester. “This event caters to people who have a spot on their wall—it’s about finding that special piece,” he says. “And buying because you like it.”

Phillips de Pury
450 W. 15th St., nr. Ninth Ave. (212-940-1200); Saturdays starting September 17.


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