Bonhams

Bonhams is an auction house with headquarters in the UK. It operates two London salerooms as well as others in Edinburgh, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. 

In 2000, Bonhams was merged with Brooks, a specialist Classic Car auctioneer, and Phillips Son & Neale not long after. US auctioneers Butterfields joined the group in 2002.

In September 2018, chairman Robert Brooks stepped down after selling the company to private equity group Epiris. In 2022, the firm went on a buying spree purchasing US auction house Skinner, Swedish saleroom Bukowskis, Danish saleroom Bruun Rasmussen and then French outfit Cornette de Saint Cyr.


Where the most appealing ingredients mix, silver shows it can still shine

06 December 2002

November 19 was a very busy day for silver fanciers, obliged to make a decision about which of a trio of overlapping London sales they wished to attend in person. As well as King Sreet's main sale, there were more standard offerings at Christie’s South Kensington and Bonhams Knightsbridge (each 17.5/10% buyer’s premium).

Papier-mâché is the new black

28 November 2002

“Black lacquered papier-mâché is back in vogue after a couple of years in the doldrums,” said Bonhams’ David Houlston, hailing one of the most successful components of November Chester sale on 6-8 November. This material was a decorative complement to the crepuscular interiors of Victorian houses and Mr Houlston believes that its resurgence is due to the ingenuity of modern decorators who have found brighter uses for the black.

Success on the plate

21 November 2002

Some dealers believe that the market for plated silver has never been the same since the Italians ducked out in the mid 1990s, and while it is true that types such as entrée dishes and tureens have gone off the boil, there is still (always?) demand for candelabra, anything set with mother or pearl or ivory (American interest here) and table centrepieces like the three examples illustrated here which were offered at Bonhams Chester (buyer’s premium 17.5/10 per cent) on November 6.

Bonhams’ stylish new look

19 November 2002

BONHAMS have continued their bullish programme of expansion and modernising with a complete facelift – internal and external – of their Knightsbridge salerooms. With a grand launch on November 25, the new-look rooms have seen much more of a change than the makeover they enjoyed in the late 1980s.

Frisson for Fritsch, but Rie and Coper falter

08 October 2002

A 221-lot auction of Contemporary Ceramics, made up the final instalment of Bonhams’ design week series on September 24. The two most bankable names in this market are Hans Coper and Lucie Rie and their work can usually be relied on to dominate the top price slots.

Too much to swallow – the fish, not the story

03 October 2002

Fishermen’s tales are usually too tall to swallow, and the following account of a frenzied struggle on a Dorset riverbank in May 1912 would be scarcely credible were it not for the stuffed and cased evidence, right.

Equine statuette gallops to £17,500

01 October 2002

This impressive equine statuette, right, proved to be the high point of Bonhams’ September 18 sale of British ceramics and glass at Bond Street. The 163/4in (42.5cm) high model decorated in cream and black is set on a rectangular plinth sponged and painted in green, blue and pink.

Be it never so humble... a sample of a work of art

01 October 2002

Only the idealists of the Arts and Crafts movement could transform a humble display of wares into a decorative work of art, and the small manufacturing firm of Jesson Birkett and Co. had done just that with this sample board, right, offered at Bonhams’ Oxford sale on 17 September.

New roles for former Phillips specialists

17 September 2002

Since the expected round of redundancies were announced at Bonhams in February as a result of the merger with Phillips, several senior staff have voluntarily left the company, some, if not all of whom are expected to be replaced.

China trade views survive changed estimates and selective mood

17 September 2002

ORIENTAL: A large, single-owner eclectic Oriental gathering ranging from Chinese jades and scholars’ objects to Contemporary paintings, Japanese lacquerwares and Burmese woodcarving went under the hammer at Bonhams’ Bond Street rooms on September 10.

China trade views survive changed estimates and selective mood

17 September 2002

ORIENTAL: A large, single-owner eclectic Oriental gathering ranging from Chinese jades and scholars’ objects to Contemporary paintings, Japanese lacquerwares and Burmese woodcarving went under the hammer at Bonhams’ Bond Street rooms on September 10.

The ultimate toys for boys of all ages

17 September 2002

Two D-type Jaguars, one shown here being used as a child’s plaything, the other an actual boy’s toy, both featured in Bonhams’ September 6 sale of sports cars and automobilia at Goodwood.

Pot lids and pickles replace postcards

10 September 2002

THE sale on August 16 was the first time Bonhams, Honiton (17.5% buyer’s premium) had held a specialist collectors’ sale without cigarette and postcards after the decision was made to sell these at New Bond Street. With the sale now focused firmly on Goss and crested china, pot lids, Prattware and commemorative ceramics, lots of new buyers flooded in making the sale a big success.

Train robber gets away with less

03 September 2002

NEARLY 40 years after 15 men stole 120 mail bags containing £2.6m from the Royal Mail train as it passed through the Buckinghamshire countryside, the Great Train Robbery can still arouse controversy. In 1969 the police held an auction of items found in the robbers’ hideout on behalf of the banks who lost money.

Harry whaur’s yer sporran?

03 September 2002

Many sporrans are military or feral in character, but this leather wallet had graced the groin of Sir Harry Lauder, legendary laird of the music hall. Winston Churchill sounded dangerously like Samuel Johnson when he described the folk singer and comedian as “Scotland’s greatest ever ambassador”, but there is no doubt that Lauder, though dead since 1950, remains popular with tourists who swallow his sentimental vision of the old country.

Hendrix still top of the pops

28 August 2002

Unfortunate timing, rather than the quality of entries or the state of the collectors’ market, was to blame for patchy interest and selective bidding in Bonham’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) 582-lot Entertainment sale on July 24, according to specialist Toby Wilson.

Hunting a £4000 buffalo

27 August 2002

The compact animal carvings of the Tomotada school are rightly thought of as the zenith of shashin netsuke, and this ivory buffalo and calf, right, by the Kyoto master (or one of his pupils) attracted strong bidding from US and London trade at Bonhams’dispersal of Branton Court.

Bonhams target country clients in double-barrelled bid

27 August 2002

Ever keen to come up with new auction formats that stimulate the interest of private buyers, Bonhams (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) held their first sale of sporting and ornithological pictures combined with sporting guns at Knightsbridge on August 7-8.

Golfing rarities by C.B. Clapcott

14 August 2002

IN A July 15 Golfing Memorabilia sale held by Bonhams Chester (17.5/10% buyer's premium) a scarce copy of C.B. Clapcott’s The History of Handicapping, a 10pp booklet of c.1924, secured in cream card covers by now rusty staples, was sold at a ten-times-estimate £4000, and one of 500 limited edition copies of a 1935 book by Clapcott, Rules of the Ten Oldest Golf Clubs from 1754-1848, a near fine copy in glassine wrappers, reached £1350.

Sir Henry’s timely bow

14 August 2002

WITH the Proms season now upon us it seems fitting that a portrait of the founder of the famous concerts, Sir Henry Wood, topped the pictures on offer at Bonhams Oxford (17.5% buyer’s premium) on June 25.

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