Bonhams is one of the world’s oldest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Founded by Thomas Dodd and Walter Bonham in London in 1793, Bonhams is still a privately owned company. In addition to fine art and antiques, Bonhams also has a strong presence on the markets for pictures, collectables and motor cars.

bonhamsOver the years, Bonhams has grown into a wide reaching network of offices, regional representatives and salerooms around the world and absorbed several other auction houses along the way, including the famous Phillips Son & Neale. Bonhams is currently represented at 65+ locations around the globe.

In its native London, Bonham has not just one but two salerooms: the old Knightsbridge Bonham saleroom at the Montepelier Galleries in Montepelier Street and the Philips’ old saleroom at 101 New Bond Street. If we travel north from London, there is one saleroom in Oxford and another one up in Edinburgh. The UK is also home to roughly twenty different regional Bonham offices for valuations and consigments.

All in all Bonham is present in over two dozen countries, with major auctions being held in cities such as Paris, Singapore, Sydney, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Short facts about Bonhams

Company type Private
Industry Auctions


Products Fine arts




Motor cars

Founded By Thomas Dodd and Walter Bonham in London, United Kingdom in 1973
Headquarters 101 New Bond Street, London, UK
Divisions Bonhams London
Bonhams Paris
Bonhams New York
Bonhams San Francisco
Bonhams Los Angeles
Bonhams Hong Kong
Bonhams Sydney

Art Loss Register

Bonhams is one of the shareholders of the London-based Art Loss Register, a privately owned database that law enforcement services worldwide can access to help trace and recover stolen art.

History of the Bonhams auction house


Bonhams was created in 1793 by antique print dealer Thomas Dodd and book specialist Walter Bonham.

19th century

By the mid-19th century, Bonhams had expanded into an auction house for all types of antiques, including furniture, porcelain, jewellery, arms, and armour, and they also arranged wine auctions.

20th century

In the early 1950s, Leonard Bonham bought land in Knightsbridge, London and created a salesroom on Montpelier Street.

21st century


In the year 2000, Bonhams was acquired by Brooks auction house, creating Bonhams & Brooks. In comparison with Bonhams, Brooks was a very young auction house, founded in 1989 by Robert Brooks, the former Head of Cars at Christie’s.

Phillips Son & Neale

In November 2001, Bonhams & Brooks merged with Phillips Son & Neale, two of only four extant Georgian auction houses in London. Phillips was founded in 1796 by Harry Phillips, bonhams auctionwho used to be a senior clerk to James Christie, and Phillips is thus only a few years younger than Bonhams.

After the merger, the trading name of the company was changed to just Bonhams, and Bonhams set up its headquarters in Philips Son & Neale’s old building in 101 New Bond Street.


In 2002, Bonhams bought Butterfields, a leading auction house for the United States’ West Coast. A U.S. subsidiary was formed and given the name Bonhams & Butterfields. The following year, Bonhams & Butterfields branched out and entered the East Coast auction market, where their very first auction was for Edwin C. Jameson’s collection of classic cars and antiques in Massachusetts.


2005 was a busy year for Bonhams. The company bought back a 49.9% stake held by the French conglomerate LVMH, thus regaining its independence, opened a salesroom on Madison Avenue in New York City, and opened an office in Paris, France.

East Asia

To increase its presence on the East Asian market, Bonhams opened an office in Hong Kong in 2007. This office works with clients in a wide region, including not just Hong Kong but also mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and India. Until 2014, the Hong Kong office also had clients in Singapore, but since then Singapore has had its own Bonhams office.

New salesrooms in New York City

In March 2008, Bonhams New York moved into rooms that used to house the Dahesh Museum of Art on 57th Street and Madison Avenue.

Famous Bonhams auctions in the 21st century

Item(s) Auction Price Info
The painting “A dark bay thoroughbred in a landscape” by George Stubbs 9th of July, 2003

Bonhams New Bond Street

Roman glass cage cup 14th of July, 2004 £2.6 million The cup used to be in the British Rail Pension Fund
  • 1929 Mercedes Benz Two-Seat Sports Tourer 36045
3rd of September 2004

Goodwood Revival

  • 18-inch Ming dish from the Hongwu Period
17th of November 2004 New U.S. record price for Ming Porcelain
  • Bust by sculptur John Gibson, depicting Maharaja Duleep Singh
19th of April 2007 £1.7 million
  • The artwork “Eshgh” (Love) by Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri.
  • Eshgh consists of Swrovski crystals and glotter on canvas
Bonhams Dubai inaugural Middle East Auction in March 2008


(A total of 33 world records were broken at this auction)

1,048,00 USD
  • The artwork “Polo Player” by Pakistani artist Gulgee
Bonhams Dubai inaugural Middle East Auction in March 2008


(A total of 33 world records were broken at this auction)

336,000 USD
  • A dagger that once belonged to the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
Bonhams Indian and Islamic sale in London on the 10th of April 2008 £1.7 million Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in India
  • A 2-seater Vickers-Supermarine MkIX Spitfire aircraft
The RAF Museum Auction in Hendon, London on the 20th of April 2008 £1,739,500
The oil painting “The Sailboat” by Natalia Goncharova Bonhams Russian sale on the 9th of June 2008 £1.7 million
  • Sir Elton John’s pianos
The Entertainment Sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge on the 18th of June 2008
  • Contents from the famous Café Royal
20th of January 2009 A total of


Café Royal was a favourite spot for Oscar Wilde
  • The hand coloured print “Mandonna” by Edvard Much
Bonhams at New Bond Street in July 2010 £1.25 million
  • A turquoise Imperial Chinese vase adorned with chrysanthemums
Bonhams at New Bond Street on 10th of November 2011 £9,001,250
  • The 99th Velazquez


Oil painting of an unidentified man in his fifties or sixties, by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez

The 7th of December 2011 £3 million This was a previously unknown Velazquez, discovered by Bonhams
  • The Portrait of François-Henri d’Harcourt
The 5th of December 2013 £17,106,500
The car in which Juan Manuel Fangio won the second of his Formula 1 world titles Bonhams July 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale £19,601,500 Juan Manuel Fangio took a total of 5 Formula 1 World Titles
  • 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California, USA on

14th of August 2014

$38,115,000.00 This broke the world record for most expensive car sold at auction.
  • Rover Defender #2 million


Auction at Bond Street on 16th of December 2015 £400,000
  • The proceeds went to two charities: Born Free Foundation and The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.