Ethical Issues at Christie's

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BECG060 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Business Ethics
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2000 - 2005
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Christie's Inc.
Industry : Auctioning
Countries : United Kingdom, USA


Christie's Inc. is a major player in the business of auctioneering. Since its inception in 1766, the auction house has Auctioning into almost all categories of auctioneering. It also has entered areas like real estate and financing.

The case deals primarily with the ethical issues confronting Christie's. The case gives an account of the anti-trust suits that were filed against the auction house. The case also throws light on the cut-throat competition among auctioneers in the top-end market.

The case ends with a description of the various controversies - the issue of selling stolen art, not disclosing the holders of Nazi loot, etc - that Christie's has faced in recent times.


Price-fixing deal between the two largest auction houses in the world

Business practices followed in auction houses

Importance of ethics in the management of business

The issues and concerns in the business of auctioneering

The importance of instilling a culture that favors ethical behavior


  Page No.
Introduction 1
About Christie's 2
The Price-Fixing Scandal 2
The Aftermath of the Scandal 6
Other Ethical Issues at Christie's 7
Hiding Nazi Loot 8
A Replay? 10
Picture Imperfect 11
Exhibits 12


Christie's Inc, Sotheby's Holdings, Inc, Anti-trust Laws, Unfair Trade Practices, US Department of Justice, Sir Anthony Tennant, Alfred Taubman, Diana D. Brooks, Christopher Davidge, Hammer price, European Commission, Price-fixing, Auction House, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Council of Europe

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