8 Facts About Sotheby’s Auction House



sotheby's auction house

Did you know that the Sotheby’s brand is literally older than the United States of America? On March 11, 1744, entrepreneur, book dealer, and all around “joyous fellow” Samuel Baker held a book auction in London. That was 273 long years ago.

Baker went on to handle the auctions for many a prominent British library. After he died in 1778, his nephew, John Sotheby, inherited half of his estate, including the auction house. Over the years, the auction house changed hands and names several times, as well as expanded its purview well beyond books.

As a former art history student, I’m proud to be a part of Sotheby’s rich and enduring heritage. Here are a few fascinating facts about the Sotheby’s Auction House:

  1. Sotheby’s “unofficial mascot” is Sekhmet, the ancient Egyptian lion goddess of the sun. An ancient bust of Sekhmet was hung above the front door of its new digs when the company moved to London’s art district in 1917.
  2. After Napoleon died, Sotheby’s auctioned off the books he had taken with him to St Helena.
  3. Sotheby’s reputation for being an art house didn’t really ring true until the World War II era and the decades following it when it handled some high-profile sales, like Peter Paul Rubens’ Adoration of the Magi. 
  4. When Sotheby’s opened an office in New York in 1955, it became the first international auction house. The auction house started selling in Hong Kong in 1973 and France in 2001; both locations now have salesrooms. Today, the auction house is headquartered in New York.
  5. If you’ve got some high dollar bottles of vino or diamonds to sell, Sotheby’s also has two retail branches that can help you out: Sotheby’s Wine and Sotheby’s Diamonds.
  6. One of the most popular paintings in the U.S., Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter,” sold in 2002 for nearly $5 million.
  7. Sotheby’s has a world record for auctioning off the most expensive piece of contemporary art work: Mark Rothko’s “White Center” for a cool $72.8 million.
  8. If you’re into the surreal, buy a last minute ticket to London for the Surrealist Art Evening Sale on February 28, 2018 and enjoy this anatomy of an artwork video about Salvador Dali in advance:


Sotheby’s Auction House is just one of the many passion points of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty. Passion points are what light our fire and get us excited about being part of the Sotheby’s brand here in Park City. And from our global reach to the epic digital journey all of our listings make, there’s a lot to be passionate about.

2018 Resort Real Estate Report

Resort Report 2018

What’s happening in the real estate markets of ski towns in the West? Glad you asked. Summit Sotheby’s International Realty just released its annual Resort Report. We’ve got the stats on the residential market in resort towns from Telluride and Sun Valley to, of course, Park City. Long story short, things are looking good. You can check it out here for yourself: 2018 Resort Report by Summit Sotheby’s International Realty.


Local Valentine’s Day Gifts for Last-Minute Lovers

What’s faster than Amazon Prime? Walking into a brick-and-mortar store and buying something. And if you forgot about Valentine’s Day (we’ve all been there) and need a gift in a pinch, buying from a local shop is your best bet. Here are a few Valentine’s Day gifts for both women and men in Park City for last-minute shoppers.

Ritual chocolate

A bar of Ritual Chocolate in its element (Photo Credit: Ritual Chocolate)

A Ritual Chocolate bar

Skip the sub-par stuff in the grocery store aisles and pick up a bar or two of Park City’s own incredible chocolate for your S.O. Find this must-try chocolate at the Ritual HQ and café on Iron Horse Drive or at the new satellite location inside Whole Foods. You can’t go wrong with the Mid Mountain Blend. Or keep it exciting with the new Bourbon Barrel Aged bar, made with High West whiskey.

High West whiskey

A bottle of High West Rendezvous Rye

Speaking of High West, a bottle of this local liquid gold is sure to delight the loved one in your life. Since the word “rendezvous” has a certain je ne sais quoi to it, we recommend you spring for the award-winning Rendezvous Rye. It’s the distillery’s flagship bottle and it shines in a Sazerac.

A bag of beans from STOKED

Are you hep to our thematic jive here? The Valentine’s Day gift game isn’t usually about the big items. It’s about taking the opportunity to remind your loved one just how much you care about them. And usually, all that takes is a little something. If you can imbibe or enjoy it together, it’s a double win. That’s why some high-quality coffee beans from STOKED, Park City’s newest roaster and coffee shop, fits the bill perfectly. Show your beau how stoked you are on them with a bag of Bluebird beans or a pack of STOKED sticks that you can both enjoy on your next camping trip.

A succulent from Park City Nursery

Flowers are great, but what’s even better is a precious plant that lasts. Bestow your S.O. with flora of the succulent kind from our favorite local plant shop. Park City Nursery is open throughout the winter, Monday-Saturday. You can also find cacti and tropical plants as well as other potential gifts like lotions and local honey.

Splendor Beauty Emporium

Photo Credit: Splendor

A gift card to Splendor Beauty Emporium

Boyfriends, husbands, partners: unless you are a beauty product buff or know your wife exceptionally well, go for the gift card at the locally owned Splendor Beauty Emporium. That way, the lady in your life can choose the specific product or service that she wants. If you’re feeling ambitious, talk to the savvy salespeople to find something special and make sure to save the receipt.

A massage at the Stein Eriksen Lodge Spa

Before you work out the kinks in your relationship, you need to work out the kinks in your backs. And a great place to do that is at Utah’s only Forbes Five-Star spa in Deer Valley. So either book your partner a massage, get them a gift card, or go all out and schedule a couples’ massage. Doped up on all that relaxation, you may just decide to spend the night and turn it into a staycation.

Whatever last-minute local gift you get, may your Valentine’s Day in Park City be a good one.

STOKED Coffee Now Open in Park City

The newest place to get your caffeine on in Park City officially opened its doors this month. Owned by Park City local Jax Mariash, STOKED got its start in Oregon, where it continues to thrive today. At STOKED Park City, located inside the O.P. Rockwell building on Main Street, you can stock up on their signature organic blends and sip on lattes while working away.

How do you know that the coffee at STOKED will get you, well, stoked? Owner Jax is a champion ultra marathoner and she relies upon her beans and beverages to energize her for long runs. “We are thrilled to be here in Park City and serve 100% organic craft coffee to all of the locals and tourists,” Jax says. “We are excited to become the best coffee of Park City.” Her customer list also includes offices and restaurants, as well as adventurers like herself in need of a buzz on-the-go. For the latter, Jax has dreamt up STOKED STIX™, packets of instant organic coffee for “instant stoke.”

We talked with Jax to learn more about how she came to establish STOKED and where she likes to run in Park City.

2016 4Deserts Antarctica Race. Photo Credit: Myke Hermsmeyer

Choose Park City: When did you first open STOKED and how did you decide to get into the coffee business?

Jax Mariash: I first opened STOKED in June of 2014 in Hood River, Oregon. I have dreamed of having my own coffee business since I was 11 years old. I love the combination of providing a premium craft cup of coffee with the passion for the outdoors in an outdoor town.

How did you first decide to open a STOKED location in Park City? And what led you to move here?

I used to work for Powderbird heli ski as a marketing director so I spent a bit of time in Park City. Following that, I lived in Jackson Hole in the winters, so I would drive to Park City to fly to international races for running and I spent more and more time here. I fell in love with Park City and decided it would be the perfect second location for STOKED and for a place to settle down personally. I moved in August of 2016 and began seeding the idea in town until I found the perfect location to open.

How is STOKED coffee different from other local roasters?

We come from the craft coffee mecca that surrounds the bay area, Seattle and Portland. Our roasting and the drinks we prepare are set to the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) standards. Thus, every drink served is performed to perfection in the world of craft coffee. This ensures that we provide legitimacy and expertise in every cup starting with the roast all the way to the prepared cup. Everything is meticulously measured to provide utmost quality for our guests.

Favorite origin and favorite STOKED blend?

As a roast master, the answer always becomes everything and depends on the mood I am in. It is such a personal preference that we don’t want to skew someone to like our favorite when they might have another. It is a lot like wine with so many origins to choose from that then can lead to so many profiles and roasts of choice. If I had to choose I, would say that I love the flavor notes a lot in Ethiopia Yirgacheffe beans. From the signature series blends at STOKED, I tend to brew a French press of the Bluebird blend almost daily.

Go-to coffee drink before and after a training run?

I enjoy a French press with XCT oil, grass-fed butter, and collagen protein blended when I wake up and typically pre-run. After I enjoy an 8-oz latte with Oatly milk. It is my new favorite.

What’s your favorite trail run in Park City?

My favorite is the crest trail because you feel like you are sky running with epic views from every direction.

What’s next for STOKED once the dust settles on the new location?

For STOKED ROASTERS, the plan is to get both locations and our roasting business humming along smoothly and then push STOKED STIX very aggressively to the outdoor market. That is our instant coffee that we created that comes in medium roast and dark roast to provide premium 100% organic coffee to the masses wherever you might go.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you can take advantage of a special promo that I partnered with STOKED to offer this February. Not a subscriber? Contact me and I’ll be happy to send you the promo code.

Beyond the Resorts: A Guide to Skiing Out of Bounds in Park City

This may not be shaping up to be the best winter on the books, but there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained. From heli skiing in Park City to resort-hopping (with some backcountry in between) around Little Cottonwood Canyon. If you want to inject a little more adrenaline into skiing this year, consider venturing beyond the resort with one of the many excellent backcountry guiding services in the Wasatch.

Powderbird Park City

Your potential ride this winter (Photo by Powderbird)

Powderbird Helicopter Skiing

For nearly 50 years, Powderbird has been whisking Park City locals and visitors to great heights for mind-blowing skiing. They operate on over 80,000 acres across the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Powderbird also charters trips to Greenland if you really want to get your adventure on. Their bases also border local ski resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley, Park City) so that you can go heli skiing in Park City the AM, then shred the corduroy in the afternoon.

Yurts at Whisper Ridge

#yurtlife (Photo by Whisper Ridge)

Whisper Ridge

This Paradise-based company bills itself as a “backcountry resort.” What does that mean? 60,000-plus acres of private skiing, accessible by snowcat. But the real perk of Whisper Ridge is its system of 10 yurts that allow you to turn your backcountry skiing trip into a multi-day adventure. In fact, these aren’t just yurts, but yurt villages equipped with breakfast and dinners cooked by your own personal chef.

Powder Cats

We like big bowls and we cannot lie (Photo by Powder Cats)

PC Powder Cats

As the story goes, a “powder hound” flew over the Uinta Mountains by helicopter a couple decades ago and ogled a plethora of backcountry lines, full of chutes and bowls. The big three: M&M Bowl, No Name Bowl, and Eagle Bowl (all above 10,000 feet). The powder in these bowls will have you coming back year after year for more with Powder Cats. Beyond the skiing, a day out in the majestic and enormous Uinta wilderness will impart a sense of zen and wonder. Imagine total silence except for the sound of your skis ploughing through pow.


This Ski Utah Tour is king of convenience and also affordable—but that doesn’t mean a sacrifice in experience. The name of this guiding service says it all. When you hop on a scheduled daily tour departing from either Deer Valley or Snowbird, the guides will connect the dots between the nearby resorts and the backcountry acreage between them. You can also book a private tour to customize your backcountry experience. All tours include lunch and transportation and are only available to advanced to intermediate skiers—sorry boarders.

More Beyond the Resort ideas

Several other guiding services can take you where you want to ski in the Park City region, from Utah Mountain Adventures to White Pine Touring. Or swap your skis for snowmobiles to experience the local snow and views from a new, rowdier angle. There are many shops in Park City, Heber, and beyond that can help turn you into a sledneck (at least for a day)! Whatever way you choose to venture beyond the resort, be sure to have fun and stay safe out there.

2017 Park City Year End Report

Want the skinny on the real estate market in the greater Park City area last year? Sotheby’s has it, of course. The gist of Park City real estate last year is that it was booming. The numbers speak for themselves and you can find them in the Summit Sotheby’s International Realty’s 2017 Report here.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the report:

  • Single family home sales in units in Park City Proper are up 16%
  • Average price of Old Town single family homes up 18%
  • Snyderville single family homes are on the market for an average of 83 days, down 13% from last year
  • Silver Springs single family home price up 8%
  • Condo sales in Park City proper up 12% in units and 10% in price
  • Snyderville Basin condo sales up 5% in price overall

Nice job, Park City!


Investing in Your Home: Why Attic Insulation is Such a Popular Improvement

There are a number of ways to make your home more energy efficient and save money. Among the best options is attic insulation. The high value of the investment is due not only to the fact that it increases a home’s value for more than the cost of installation, but also because of the lower energy bills that you will see when you have your attic insulated properly.


Photo credit: gemteck1

Choose the Right Type of Insulation

Choosing expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation over other options such as XPS or Polyiso can mean more cost savings on the product and the installation itself, along with lower power bills. While it’s important to insulate your home, and some insulation is better than none, there are different grades and types of insulation. Because of this, some insulation options are better than others and offer more cost effectiveness.

Any homeowner who plans to insulate their attic will want to work with a trusted company and choose the right kind of insulation for their needs. The size of the house, whether there is any existing insulation, and the weather in your location can all make a difference.

Improve Your Home’s Value

One of the most significant benefits of attic insulation is the increase in your home’s value. Well-insulated houses generally appraise higher than poorly insulated homes simply because they are considered to be more valuable and worth more money as they sit. With this in mind, adding insulation is one of the better projects to complete before getting ready to sell. That’s because someone who might be planning to buy the home would already have the insulation there, and wouldn’t need to make changes to the home that would cost them money.

Lower Your Power Bills

With good insulation, your power bills can be much lower than they would be for an uninsulated home. The cost of the insulation product and its installation are quickly offset by the lower power bills for heating and cooling. For homes that had little or poor attic insulation, the bills for heating and cooling can come down significantly from what they were before the home was insulated. That is very important from a cost saving standpoint, and it can also help the home feel more comfortable and have a more even temperature throughout the year.

Big Seller Benefits From Attic Insulation

Any homeowner who is thinking about selling should consider attic insulation. Buyers are looking for move-in-ready homes that don’t need work. They are also looking for homes that aren’t going to cost a lot of money in improvements and utility bills. With proper attic insulation, sellers have an advantage and buyers will generally take note of that.

If you’re a homeowner who wants to save money on your bills and feel more comfortable year round, or if you’re considering selling your home, adding high quality attic insulation can be the right investment for your future needs.

By Guest Blogger Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR® of Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group

Business Spotlight: Switchback Sports

switchback sports

In May 2011, locals Patrick and Liz Fannon opened up Switchback Sports in Park City with the goal of helping families afford recreational sports. If you’re a parent who takes your kid skiing, biking, camping, etc., then you know the drill. Every year, you need to buy a whole new set of gear to fit your child’s new size and ability. Even with just one kid and one sport, these purchases add up quickly. Imagine the cost of outfitting multiple children for several different sports!

That’s where used gear comes in. The Fannons’ dream is to keep locally beloved sports like biking and skiing from being prohibitively expensive. “We have so many families that come back year after year, and even, for that matter, season after season,” says Ryan Burns, general manager at Switchback Sports. Best of all, families can sell back the gently used equipment that no longer fits their kids’ needs. Then they can put the consignment revenue they earn toward new gear purchases.

switchback sports skis

In addition to serving as a consignment shop, Switchback also sells new gear; tunes, waxes, and mounts skis; and rents out bikes in the summer. Switchback also partners with several local youth groups. This January, the shop is collaborating with the Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) to collect over 100 pairs of skis and snowboards to donate to under-privileged children.

As the only consignment shop for outdoor gear in Park City and the Wasatch Back, Switchback Sports has clearly filled an important local niche. After six years of operation, Switchback has outgrown its current space and is planning to relocate in the summer of 2018.

The Switchback team is grateful for its loyal base of local and second homeowner customers for helping them fulfill their mission of making skiing, biking, and other sports financially accessible. “Without all of you guys, this shop couldn’t be a reality,” says Ryan. “So thank you from the bottom of all our hearts.”

If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you can take advantage of a special promo that I partnered with Switchback to offer this January. Not a subscriber? Contact me and I’ll be happy to send you the promo code.

How to Maximize Short-Term Rental Income

canyons living room

Make your guests feel at home, but not like they’re at your home

With Sundance and busy holiday ski weekends just around the corner, this is the time of year to maximize short-term rental income.

Making the most of your short-term rental seems to boil down to two pivotal things: 1) outstanding photography; and 2) positive reviews and lots of them. Get those two things right, and you’ll likely see bookings increase and optimize your nightly rate.

I talked to two short-term rental property owners (and former clients) about how to excel at photography and reviews in order to maximize short-term rental income. Here are their tips.


One of the big perks of a rental for visitors is being able to cook and eat at “home” while on vacation

Photography that sells short-term rentals

Would you want to stay in a darkish room that looks like it’s inhabited part-time by a hoarder? Of course not. Park City local Graham Anthony, who owns two properties that he exclusively rents out on AirBnb and VRBO, recommends hiring a pro for the job. Look at this as an investment you’ll see returns on via more bookings at higher prices.

Consider these tips for visually capturing your property at its best:

  • Stage your property or hire a professional to do so. Remove clutter as well as any family photos, valuables, or personal effects. Graham emphasizes that eliminating these items from the premises not only prevents people from feeling like they’re crashing at a stranger’s home, it also means your stuff won’t get stolen by bad apple guests.
2847 W Deer Pointe Dr bed 2

Go seasonal with your photos or go home

  • Use seasonal photos. At least procure separate summer and winter photos. A visitor coming to soak up the Park City sunshine won’t want to see a photo of a snow-covered deck. And a family heading here for a ski vacation will likely be lured by that view of snow-covered trees from the bedroom window.
  • Get the light right. Photograph during the day so your home is lit by natural light. Open up all the blinds and turn on all the lights.
  • Don’t disappoint. If you include photographs of your home looking clean, impeccably decorated, and free of clutter, that is what renters will expect. “Don’t make it look better in the pictures than it really is,” Graham cautions. If that means getting new shots if you make big changes, then so be it.
park meadows living room

Staged your home for AirBnB photos? Make sure it looks as impeccable as it did for the photo shoot, i.e. that fireplace better be working

How to get more reviews on AirBnB and VRBO

Compared to mastering the photography component of your home, earning positive reviews is a slightly more complex nut. Here’s how to crack it:

  • Communicate beforehand. AirBnB may make it difficult to do so since it doesn’t allow for the exchange of phone numbers or personal info. Use AirBnBs/VRBOs lines of communications to send or attach a document with info such as entry instructions, what amenities you’ll offer in the kitchen/bathroom, etc. Graham warns that getting a PDF attachment through can sometimes be a challenge, but your guests will appreciate it.
  • Answer questions quickly. Candace Smith*, who also rents her properties on VRBO and AirBnB, recommends responding to inquiries promptly from both potential and booked guests. “During an event (like Sundance), potential guests may have questions about the location of the unit and/or local transportation to and from screenings and events,” Candace explains.” Skiing guests may have similar questions about how to get from your property to the resorts. Download the AirBnB and VRBO apps to your phone so you stay on top of communication and try to respond within 24 hours if not much sooner.
  • Provide a welcome basket and info kit for your guests. “During ski season, we have things like hot chocolate, water bottles, microwave popcorn, and the brochure for the ski runs in our welcome basket,” Candace says. “Small treats often put smiles on guests’ faces upon arrival.” She also puts together a “Welcome to Park City” binder with her recommendations for skiing or dining.
Canyons kitchen

A well-stocked kitchen rakes in rave reviews that will help you maximize short-term rental income

  • Pimp out your kitchen. Graham says a stocked kitchen is one of the most common pieces of positive feedback he gets about his rentals. For many families, staying at an AirBnB or VRBO instead of a hotel is so great because everyone can cook together and spare the expanse of dining out for every meal. Not only does Graham fill his kitchen with spices, syrup, and coffee creamer, but with equipment like blenders and slow cookers.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver. That’s Graham’s motto when it comes to short-term rentals. Exceed expectations and you’ll draw high praise.

Armed with superior photography and these review-earning tips, you’ll be well-positioned to earn top dollar from your short-term rentals on AirBnB and VRBO this winter. You can check out some more tips for renting your place out on AirBnB here. And if you’re looking for a prime investment property to rent out on AirBnB and VRBO projected to pull in up to $1,679 in nightly revenue, this Old Town townhome might be right up your alley.

*Name has been changed.