- Tash Perrin is an auctioneer at Christie’s, the largest auction house in the world.
- Perrin lives in Tribeca, wakes up at 5:45 a.m. every day, always eats breakfast, and goes for morning runs along the Hudson River with her dog, Ryndie.
- She says being an auctioneer is like “conducting an orchestra” and requires juggling many different aspects like keeping track of the numbers and “being the showman.”
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Tash Perrin is an auctioneer at Christie’s, the world’s largest auction house, which sells billions of dollars of art, jewellery, and luxury goods each year.
In addition to her role as an auctioneer, Perrin serves as Senior Vice President and Senior Director of Trusts, Estates & Wealth Management Services at Christie’s International, which means she represents Christie’s at conferences across the country and assists clients through major sales around the world.
When she’s in New York City and not travelling for work, Perrin told Business Insider she wakes up at 5:45 a.m. every day. She works out with her personal trainer or goes for a run along the Hudson River, sometimes with her dog, Ryndie.
She says being an auctioneer is like “conducting an orchestra,” because it requires juggling many different aspects, like keeping track of the numbers and “being the showman.”
Here’s a look at a typical day in her life.
Tash Perrin has been an auctioneer at Christie’s, the largest auction house in the world, for 18 years.
Perrin, who spent seven years at Christie’s in London before rejoining the New York office in 2007, also serves as Senior Vice President and Senior Director of Trusts, Estates & Wealth Management Services at Christie’s International, which means she represents Christie’s at conferences across the country and assists clients through major sales around the world.
Perrin wakes up at 5:45 a.m. every day. When the weather’s nice, she goes for a run along the Hudson River.
“I have a trainer that comes to me a couple of times a week, so I’ll either meet with him in my building – he comes at 6:15 and I’ll work out with him for an hour – or on days particularly when the weather’s nice, I might go – either with my dog or on my own – go for a run up the Hudson River Park,” Perrin said.
Perrin lives in Tribeca, the richest neighbourhood in New York City, but she also has a home in Toronto, where she and husband live together and where she spends most weekends.
She runs about three days per week.
“I feel like it’s a nice way to get myself focused on getting in the right mindset for what I’m doing in the day,” she said.
Sometimes her dog, Ryndie, accompanies her.
“She’s a rescue,” Perrin said. “I got her in 2009, so she’s almost 10, and she won’t leave the house without carrying something in her mouth.”
By 7 a.m., she’s back her in apartment checking emails.
She also speaks with colleagues in London about a client’s selection for the Christie’s sale later that day.
Perrin is “definitely a breakfast person,” she says. “I can’t imagine not having breakfast in the morning.”
Perrin always eats breakfast at home.
“Sometimes it’s an egg, sometimes it’s toast and peanut butter, sometimes it might be granola and fruit that I’ve made,” she said. “I’ll have a coffee at home as well and then I’ll either get a coffee en route or I’ll have another coffee when I get to work.”
Perrin also often uses the morning hours to talk on the phone with her husband, who lives primarily at their home in Toronto, while Perrin is based in New York.
“My husband travels a lot for his job as well,” Perrin said. “He’s in Europe a lot, so in the morning is usually a good time for us to speak, and that just happens to be a time he knows he can get me, because I’m not in the office yet.”
At about 8 a.m., Perrin takes the subway from Tribeca to the Christie’s New York location at Rockefeller Center. It’s about a 25-minute trip.
She says the trains usually aren’t too crowded if she leaves early enough.
Depending on the day, she arrives at Christie’s between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
“What time I get to the office depends on if we have meetings in the morning if we’re at a conference or something like that, but generally speaking I’m sort of in anywhere between 8 and 9,” Perrin said.
Perrin often starts her workday in New York with a meeting.
Today, she’s in the Bid Department to look over the Auctioneer’s Book ahead of her auction at 11 a.m.
The auction Perrin will be leading today is a Design auction, so her next meeting is with the Design team at 9:30 a.m.
This meeting is to review and discuss interest in the objects in the auction and to prepare for the sale.
“It’s not just the auctioneer breezes in, takes the sale and leaves,” Perrin said. “It’s very much a collaborative endeavour, and I think that’s key to the success of any sale.”
In the meantime, Perrin drinks her second coffee of the day.
“I am generally very conscious of using my reusable bottles and mugs,” she said.
Perrin’s auction starts at 11 a.m.
It’s the Christie’s Design auction, which includes mirrors, chairs, lamps, tables, sculptures, and other works from the turn of the 20th century to the Contemporary era.
The auction totaled more than $US14 million in sales, with the highlight being a 1937 cabinet by Eugène Printz and Jean Dunand that sold for almost $US5.5 million after a “protracted bidding war among three telephone bidders.” The final sale was ten times its estimated price, Perrin said.
Perrin says her job is like conducting an orchestra.
There are many different aspects to juggle during an auction, Perrin said.
“There’s the numeral dexterity, there is being the showman,” she said. “I often have discussed it’s like being the conductor of an orchestra. You’re pulling in the various different elements of the room at various different times to make everybody feel engaged, and you’ve got to be confident in a lot of the decisions that you’re making because the auctioneer, he or she is in charge of the proceedings, of what’s happening in the room at that time.”
A typical sale lasts between one and three hours, although some can go on much longer – and there are no breaks.
“When you’re up there, you’re up there,” Perrin said. “You’re there for the time that you are selling. So you don’t necessarily get a break.”
When it comes time to sell a particularly high-priced object in an auction, you can feel the tension among the crowd, according to Perrin.
“It’s like you can hear a pin drop in a room,” she said.
The auction wraps up at about 1:30 p.m., later than expected because the sale was so successful, Perrin said. She has missed her client lunch, but she typically eats something like a grilled salmon and mixed greens salad from Proper Food.
Perrin said she tries to have working lunches whenever she can.
Some days, Perrin helps train her colleagues to become auctioneers. At 2 p.m., after her Design auction, she leads a training for Christie’s employees accompanied by a fellow seasoned auctioneer, Richard Lloyd.
In the auctioneering class, Perrin said she gives “a sense of how we would go about taking bids in the room or how you use open hand gesture instead of closed ones, not putting up your hand like you’re trying to stop traffic when you’re saying, ‘Are you bidding?’ … You should use an open gesture.”
Auctioneers should look engaged and receptive, Perrin said.
“It’s a lot easier to watch somebody for two hours if they’re using their arms and they’re making it look like they’re gesturing you to participate in the sale rather than standing very stiff and not using their arms,” she said.
After the training, Perrin has another meeting, this time with her coworkers in the chairman’s office, the Estates and Appraisals Department, as well as the Impressionist and Modern and Decorative Arts Departments, to finalise a proposal that has to go out before the end of the day.
“Notice that there are always snacks on the table!” Perrin said.
She has one last meeting at 5 p.m. to prepare for an upcoming client meeting.
Perrin leaves the office at about 7:30 p.m. to meet a client for drinks — the same client she was scheduled to have lunch with earlier in the day.
They go to the Summer Garden at Rockefeller Center.
At 8:30 p.m., she meets friends for dinner.
They go to Locanda Verde in Tribeca, “a favourite spot for a light bite,” Perrin said.
By 10 p.m., Perrin is home, where her dog Ryndie is waiting for her arrival.
Perrin’s husband, Lorenzo, comes to New York every other week or so, but when he isn’t there to take care of Ryndie, Perrin has a dog walker who comes and walks her twice before Perrin gets home.
After an 11 p.m. call with her husband, who is on a business trip in Australia, Perrin goes to bed.
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