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