|Bonhams is a privately owned British auction house and one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The Bonhams name is recognised worldwide throughout all sectors of the fine art, antiques and collectors market, with several of its departments established world leaders within their specialist category.
The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. This brought together two of the four surviving Georgian auction houses in London, Bonhams having been founded in 1793, and Phillips in 1796 by Harry Phillips, formerly a senior clerk to James Christie. Today the amalgamated business handles fine art and antiques in more than 60 specialist collecting areas. The firm has continued to grow and change since the merger in 2001. The last ten years have been among the most dramatic and fast-growing in its history.
In August 2002 the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America, which had been founded in 1865 during the California gold rush.
Today Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals. There are two large salerooms in London: the former Phillips sale room at 101 New Bond Street, and the old Bonhams sale room at the Montpelier Galleries in Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge. There are also three regional sale rooms in Britain: Chester, Edinburgh and Oxford. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston in the USA; in Switzerland, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. The Bonhams presence in Australia became a stand-alone operation in 2010.
Bonhams & Butterfields conducted their first East Coast sale in 2003, in the Art Deco Fuller Building erected in 1926. In 2005 they opened a new sale room in New York, on the corner of 57th Street and Madison Avenue, formerly the home of the Darhesh Museum. New offices and sale rooms have also been opened elsewhere: a Paris office in June 2005, one in Dubai in 2007, and an auction business in Hong Kong in 2009 to participate in the expanding Asian market. Bonhams is now established in 25 countries across five continents.
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