Various Roman armies used to divide their loot and slaves by auction. In Britain the first record of auctioneering comes at the end of the 1400´s, with an official of Henry Vll´s court known as the King´s Over-Roper. To ´rope´was to shout out for sale (which might give one a ´ropey´throat) and the word survives in Scotland and Northern England where sales may be called ´roupes´. After the Restoration of Charles ll in 1660, auctions became common in London, with Covent Garden as the centre of the trade. Amongst the oldest Bbritish firms to survive are Sotheby´s, which stems from Baker´s book sales beginning in 1744, and Christie´s, founded in 1766. Dreweatt Neate of Newbury also has its origins in the 1760´s. Bohams, which is still in part a family-run firm, and Phillips, founded by James Christie´s sales clerk,followed at the end of the 1700´s. Other countries may have longer traditions, but today British auctioneers effectively sell up the world.