Bonhams, world's third largest auction house, opens office here

Bonhams, world's third largest auction house, opens office here
Ms Bernadette Rankine, director of auction house Bonhams, which has opened an office in Wisma Atria.

SINGAPORE - Auction house Bonhams, regarded as the third largest and fastest-growing auction house in the world, has its eyes on Singapore and the region.

While there are no immediate plans to hold an auction here, the international auction house has opened an office in Wisma Atria ahead of its preview to be held at The Regent Singapore.

On Friday and Saturday, expect to see several star lots in the categories of fine jewellery, jadeite, 20th-century Asian and contemporary art and rare wines, cognac and single malt whiskey. These will be auctioned from May 17 to 26 at the Bonhams Hong Kong Gallery.

Among the star lots planned for display are fine jadeite bangles, diamond bracelets, diamond earrings weighing 3.52 carats and 3.57 carats, and the first Macallan in a Lalique Decanter. The decanter, one of only 470 in the world, is filled with rare 50-year-old Macallan whiskey.

The newly appointed representative and director of the Singapore office, Ms Bernadette Rankine, tells Life! ahead of the preview that the office here is meant to step up its "Asia presence" against the "backdrop of a burgeoning Asian collectors market".

In a statement, chairman of Bonhams Asia Colin Sheaf says one of the reasons for opening an office here was the "Singapore Government's impressive championing of South Asian art projects".

With a presence here, he adds, Bonhams can have greater access to its clients in the South-east Asian region as well as reach out to new buyers and sellers through its Singapore previews, receptions and art lectures.

Bonhams is among the world's leading auction houses together with Christie's and Sotheby's, both of which have offices here. All three, however, hold their auctions for the Asia Pacific region in Hong Kong.

Ms Rankine says opening an office here is an important move for Bonhams as a physical presence here allows it to reach out to new clients.

She adds: "The South-east Asian market is growing. This is being represented through sales as well as the increasing number of artworks that are showing up at auction. There was a need to have specialists based here, so clients can have easier access."

Indeed, this week's preview will see works from the region, including leading contemporary Filipino artist Geraldine Javier's 2010 diptych, Duck In Pineapple Sauce, Vitrines With Embroidery, measuring 92cm x 67cm and with an estimate of HK$130,000 (S$21,100) to HK$170,000.

As director, Ms Rankine travels extensively around the region and has two fine art specialists based here.

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