10 Apr 2021
March 9, 2012 - Filed under: Auctions — Harriet

Bonhams have vowed to protect clients selling antique cabinets and other valuables through their salerooms – and have issued a plea asking other auction houses to do the same.

Despite the high commission rates charged to sellers, people often use local auction houses to sell valuable items such as antique balloon backed dining chairs in Lancashire. However, following the dramatic closure of short-lived online saleroom Auction Atrium, Bonhams have issued a national statement asking other auction houses to follow their lead in protecting the assets owed to clients over the sale of items like antique dining tables .

Lancashire is just over the border from Cheshire, where Bonhams has a regional saleroom. Bonham’s is one of the ninety in a hundred auction houses operating separate client accounts (SCAs), which protect proceeds obtained from sales of antique desks and other collectibles from being used as company collateral. While Auction Atrium originally operated under an SCA policy, this was discontinued.

Bonhams’ chief executive was compelled to write to Christie’s director and RICS board member Richard Roundell explaining why Auction Atrium was allowed continued membership of the SOFAA (Society of Fine Art Auctioneers), after discontinuing its separate client account policy. He went on to say:

“The world has seen great institutions … go under in recent years. No business is immune.”

In areas like Lancashire, Victorian dining chairs and other valuable possessions are safely sold through both auctions and antique dealers. Remember though, that in the latter case you won’t have to pay seller’s commission or other charges.

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