Bonhams is a privately owned international auction house and has a very long history that dates back to 1793. The company was first headquartered in London and now has branches in New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and Singapore.
Bonhams auction house was founded in 1793 by Thomas Dodd (1771-1850), a printmaker-trader who set up an office in Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London. In 1817 Dodd faced bankruptcy and passed the business on to his apprentice George Jones, who formed a partnership with George Bonham in the 1850s. With this partner, the auction house gained its distinctive name and was temporarily known as Jones & Bonham. Thereafter, the business changed owners and names before regaining complete independence in October 2005. This was after buying back the 49.9% stake owned by French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH.
By the end of 2003, Bonhams had generated revenues of $304 million through more than 700 sales.
Bonhams' flagship stores in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong host more than 400 specialized sales a year in 60 different categories. The company employs more than 550 specialists in various fields. One of the London Bonhams stores is located in fashionable Knightsbridge, opposite Harrods, the luxury department store. More than 150 art auctions are held there annually.
In December 2013, Bonhams set a world record for a painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a Portrait of François-Henri d'Harcourt was sold for a staggering £17.1 million. To this day, it remains the most expensive French Rococo painting sold at auction. In 2014, a copy of a 1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta was sold at Quail Lodge in California for $38,115,000. This was a world record for the most valuable car sold at auction until August 2018.