Phillips de Pury Auction Wrap-up

The scene Wednesday at New York's Phillips de Pury Company auction house looked like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Hands shot up frantically from the telethon-like bank of phones along one wall, from where a disproportionately high number of bids were coming. Phillips employees, on the phone with millionaire clients, communicated their bids to the auctioneer with a series of glances, nods and hand waves that outside of the auction house would likely be considered rude.

The scene Wednesday at New York's Phillips de Pury & Company auction house looked like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Hands shot up frantically from the telethon-like bank of phones along one wall, from where a disproportionately high number of bids were coming. Phillips employees, on the phone with millionaire clients, communicated their bids to the auctioneer with a series of glances, nods and hand waves that outside of the auction house would likely be considered rude. But when you're in a showdown over a piece of art and have tens -- or hundreds -- of thousands of dollars on the line, politeness is of little concern.