Bonhams buys Danish auction house Bruun Rasmussen

Bruun Rasmussen’s auction house in Copenhagen.

After announcing last week that it had acquired the American company Skinner, it has just added the Danish auction house Bruun Rasmussen to its list of auction houses abroad.

The purchase means Bonhams now owns two of Scandinavia’s largest auction houses after acquiring Sweden’s Bukowskis in January 2022. Bonhams described the latest purchase as “part of a strategy to expand Bonhams’ position in as a digital auction house with a global footprint”. He also said the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bruun Rasmussen has been a family business since it was founded in Copenhagen in 1948 by Arne Bruun Rasmussen. His son Jesper has been president of the company since 1985.

Jesper Bruun Rasmussen will now become chairman emeritus, with the company’s day-to-day operations continuing to be led by Jakob Dupont, Bruun Rasmussen’s chief executive. Jesper Bruun Rasmussen said: “I have just dropped the hammer on the largest and most important sale in the history of Bruun Ramussen Auctioneers. It has been a privilege to have run this great auction house for so many years. I look forward to being part of the journey to even greater horizons, with my children Alexa and Frederik. I am very proud that our company will become a global player thanks to Bonhams.

Jesper Bruun Rasmussen

Jesper Bruun Rasmussen, the son of the company founder who has been chairman of the company since 1985.

Bonhams was acquired by the Epiris investment fund in 2018 and has since pursued an active acquisition policy, in particular by expanding into new territories. Last year, it opened its first auction house in Paris. It also bought The Market, a digital auction platform for classic and collectible car and motorcycle auctions.

The company now has 12 salesrooms worldwide, located in London (New Bond Street and Knightsbridge), Edinburgh, New York, Los Angeles, Paris (opened September 2021), Hong Kong, Sydney, Stockholm (Bukowskis, acquired in January 2022), Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts (both Skinner) as well as Copenhagen (Bruun Rasmussen).

“Revered Mark”

In addition to its headquarters in the Nordhavn district of Copenhagen, Bruun Rasmussen also organizes live auctions and previews in separate premises in the city’s Bredgade, and has another space for sales online auction in Jutland.

Unlike Skinner, who will now be known as Bonhams Skinner, Bruun Rasmussen will continue to call himself Bruun Rasmussen “in recognition of his status in Denmark and Scandinavia” according to Bonhams. Its new full name is “Bruun Rasmussen – Part of the Bonhams Network”.

The company is the subject of a documentary series on Danish television, auction housewhich has been around since 2013. Bruun Rasmussen’s house record was set in June last year when an ancient Ming porcelain dish sold for 35.5 million Danish crowns (£4.1 million) .

The acquisition means that this year Bonhams will hold over 400 specialist sales in 53 different categories. Bonhams Managing Director Bruno Vinciguerra said: “Bruun Rasmussen is one of Europe’s leading auction houses. A revered brand in Denmark, it is known and loved for its pioneering sales, especially in Scandinavian art and design.

“Following Bonhams’ acquisition of Swedish auction house Bukowskis in January, our strategy is to bring a thriving regional business to the global market through Bonhams’ international network. The addition of Bruun Rasmussen will strengthen Bonhams’ European scale and increase digital capabilities to support greater reach across the Bonhams network.

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