There are hundreds of auction houses in the United States and Europe. Here are some of the more important ones.
One of the few surviving Georgian London auction houses, Bonhams was founded in 1793 by Thomas Dodd, a renowned antique print dealer and Walter Bonham, a book specialist. Expanded during the 1850s to handle all categories of antiques including jewelry, porcelain, furniture, arms & armor, and fine wines, Bonhams today is active in over 70 categories embracing the entire spectrum of fine art, antiques and collectibles. Today, Bonhams conducts over 700 sales a year, more than any of its rivals worldwide.
Founded in 1766, Christie's conducts international auctions in over 80 categories-from fine art and furniture to clocks and classic cars. Its auction houses are found across the globe.
Founded in 1963, Doyle New York is one of the world's foremost auctioneers and appraisers of fine art, jewelry, furniture, decorations and a variety of other categories. Located in New York City, Doyle offers approximately forty sales each year that attract a broad base of buyers and consignors from around the world.
Drouot is a decentralized aggregation of some 50 auction partnerships owned by 110 auctioneers. Some 2,000 auction sales of approximately two million items take place annually. That is roughly half the auction volume in all of France.
Sotheby's is the world's oldest international auction house in continuous operation. The firm's offices in London and New York together have an annual turnover of approximately two billion dollars. Sotheby's was the first international art auction house to hold auctions on the internet.
Swann Auction Galleries
Swann Galleries was founded in 1941 as an auction house specializing in Rare Books. Today Swann has separate departments devoted to Photographs, African-American Fine Art, Posters, and Prints & Drawings, in addition to Books, Maps & Atlases, and Autographs.