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Bruun Rasmussen Becomes Part of Bonhams

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is entering a new era. The “grand old man” of the Danish auction industry, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen, has, together with his family, decided to sell the company, which has auctioned off art in the heart of Copenhagen and been the favourite auction house of the Danes since 1948.

It is with great pride that Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers can announce that the company’s path into the future will go hand in hand with Bonhams – one of the biggest players in the auction market. The family is thrilled about the acquisition which will create many new opportunities for the future development of the company and the company’s employees who will be working in an international environment. With the consolidation of the two very strong brands, Bruun Rasmussen will gain access to a larger network of clients and specialists all over the world and become an important factor on the global auction scene.

An Auction House for the Whole World

Since the founder Arne Bruun Rasmussen established the auction house in Bredgade 33 in the centre of Copenhagen, the company has managed to evolve with the times and adapt to the international art market and increased digitalization of the industry. This has meant that the number of employees has increased from a handful to now more than 140 people today. During recent years, the company has experienced a significant growth due to the customers' great interest in the auction lots and the hard work of the talented employees. Today, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers has a very strong national presence in Denmark and is very well-known by a large part of the local population. With the acquisition, the family wants to strengthen the global perspective, and together with Bonhams grow the company both nationally as well as internationally.

Photo: Jesper Bruun Rasmussen and Chairman of Bonhams Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard (Photo: Jonas Pryner)

"I have just brought the hammer down over the largest and most important sale in the history of Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers with Bonhams' acquisition of the company. To have led the way on the auction house’s eventful journey for so many years has been a privilege, and I look forward to being a part of the journey towards even broader horizons together with Alexa and Frederik. I am very proud of the fact that our company has reached a level where it has become interesting for a worldwide player such as Bonhams. It is also a great pleasure to announce our new name: Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers – Part of the Bonhams Network."

Jesper Bruun Rasmussen

Bonhams – the World’s Local Auction House

Founded in London in 1793, Bonhams is one of the world’s leading auctioneers of fine art and collectables, motor cars, and jewellery. Since 2018, there has been substantial investment, specifically in digitalization, marketing, and new hires. The business operates globally from flagship salerooms in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong, with additional sales in Edinburgh and Sydney. This year, the auction house will hold more than 400 specialist sales across 53 different categories. In January 2022, Bonhams acquired the leading Swedish auction house Bukowskis.

“I have long admired Bruun Rasmussen. It is an institution that’s woven into the hearts of the Danish nation so as a proud Dane, this acquisition gives me a particular personal pleasure. It shows further confirmation of our determination to become the world’s local auction house.”

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, Chairman of Bonhams

“Bruun Rasmussen is one of the truly great European auction houses. A brand revered in Denmark, it is known and loved for its pioneering sales, particularly in Scandinavian art and design. The addition of Bruun Rasmussen will enhance Bonhams’ European scale and increase digital capabilities to support further outreach across the Bonhams network. We are delighted to welcome Bruun Rasmussen to our growing family.”

Bruno Vinciguerra, CEO of Bonhams

“This is Bonhams’ third recent acquisition and its fourth under the ownership of Epiris. Bruun Rasmussen is a highly complementary addition to the Bonhams family, building on its presence in the important Nordic market and offering plenty of opportunities to develop synergies between the two auction houses’ networks and brands.”

Alex Fortescue, Managing Partner at Epiris
CEO of Bonhams Bruno Vinciguerra and Jesper Bruun Rasmussen

Respect for the History of the Auction House

The reason behind the transfer is Jesper Bruun Rasmussen’s wish to ensure the company’s continuous growth in the future. The decision has been made after many careful deliberations, as the auction house has been in the ownership of the family for almost 75 years and is an important legacy for the family to maintain. It has been decisive for Jesper Bruun Rasmussen that the auction house will continue to be run with respect for the history and spirit that has been developed in the company over the past many decades. There has been a series of interested suitors, but the family has taken its time to find the perfect match with the same values as themselves.

The perfect candidate is the English auction house Bonhams which with its foundation in 1793 has its own long history and is today considered one of the largest auction houses in the world. There has been a very good chemistry between the two auction houses from the start, and in the future continued acknowledgement of the company's core values such as credibility, commitment and renewal will remain the foundation for the ongoing work. With the acquisition, Bruun Rasmussen will also become a part of a large global network of local auction houses and specialists within a wide variety of art interests and will therefore be able to meet customer demands no matter where in the world they derive from. The combined local and global perspective will add to the manifestation of Bruun Rasmussen’s position internationally.

The Bruun Rasmussen family will remain an active and visible part of the auction house going forward. Customers will be able to meet them as always in the main office at Nordhavn and not least at the previews and auctions in Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen where they armed with Arne Bruun Rasmussen's original auction hammer will occupy the podium and oversee the sale of valuable works of art, design classics and rare antiques.

About Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers

For nearly 75 years Bruun Rasmussen has sold art, design, antiques, jewellery, watches, and collector's items and has been the leading auction house in Denmark for many decades. The company was founded in 1948 by Arne Bruun Rasmussen. Today, Bruun Rasmussen conducts three types of auctions – the Live Auctions in Bredgade in the centre of Copenhagen with the most valuable works of art and the two online-based auction types – Online Auction and Direct Auction – with items in a more affordable price range. The digitalization of the auction house has enlarged the customer base for the art and underlined the position of Bruun Rasmussen as a significant part of the international auction market. Today, Bruun Rasmussen employs approximately 140 people, has more than 800,000 visits to the website per month, sells more than 75,000 auction lots a year, and in 2020 had a turnover of almost DKK 540 million.

About Bonhams

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and collectables, motor cars, and a luxury division, including jewellery, watches, wine and whisky. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 53 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com.