Meet the Ex­pert

Bon­hams’ Direc­tor of the House Sales, Pri­vate & Iconic Col­lec­tions De­part­ment, Char­lie Thomas

Homes and Antiques Magazine - - AN­TIQUES NOW -

My in­ter­est in an­tiques was fu­elled by go­ing to auc­tions with my fa­ther when I was a boy. This led to gain­ing work ex­pe­ri­ence as an auc­tion house porter dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

My role at Bon­hams in­volves con­sign­ing and sell­ing sin­gle­owner col­lec­tions, such as the con­tents of stately homes like Trelis­sick House in Corn­wall or Hooton Pag­nell Hall in York­shire. I also fo­cus on the pri­vate col­lec­tions of well-known per­son­al­i­ties, such as Lau­ren Ba­call, Jackie Collins or Richard A!en­bor­ough.

A sale day is the re­sult of months of hard work, cat­a­logu­ing, re­search­ing and pro­mot­ing. For im­por­tant sales, I ‘tag team’ the auc­tion­eer­ing with one of my col­leagues. It’s not un­com­mon for house-sale auc­tions to last for

10 hours or more, so keep­ing the auc­tion­eer­ing fresh and en­er­getic is key when you’re on the ros­trum. There’s a big team be­hind an auc­tion: client ser­vices, tele­phone bid­ders, ship­pers, IT, light­ing, sound en­gi­neers – imag­ine a West End show!

I love the thrill of dis­cov­ery and the a!ic is al­ways my favourite room in a coun­try house. I also love writ­ing foot­notes – it’s hugely re­ward­ing to dis­cover some­thing about a lot that will make a di"er­ence to its out­come.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, I love an­tiques and I would be hap­pi­est liv­ing in a mu­seum – but my wife has a good eye and keeps our house jux­ta­posed with mod­ern pieces. My favourite room is our liv­ing room. It’s very light with large bi-fold doors – though keep­ing the sun o" the ma­hogany is an is­sue!

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