Recognized as one of the most dynamic auction houses in the world today, Bonhams & Butterfields Auctioneers is one of the largest companies of its kind in the world. A house of experts in many fields, Bonhams & Butterfields specializes in the appraisal and sale of fine art, antiques and decorative objects in virtually every auction category. Bonhams & Butterfields continues its tradition as the premier West Coast auction house by providing a wide selection of property in every category combined with excellent customer service and professional expertise.
Butterfields, Past & Present (Est. 1865) It started in 1865 when William Butterfield turned in his sheriff's badge and six-shooter for an auctioneer gavel. The doors to Marble Head Auctioneers, on what is now the site of an icon in the San Francisco skyline, the Transamerica Pyramid, first opened for business catering to thriving Gold-Rush Californians. At first, the offerings consisted mainly of surplus goods consigned by sailing ships entering the San Francisco harbor. As the city became more prosperous and sophisticated and the Victorian era unfolded, demand for fine art and furnishings grew. Mr. Butterfield realized the need for a place where private people could buy and sell their possessions and adapted his business accordingly.
Mr. Fred R. Butterfield, William's son, joined the firm in 1914, just prior to the great upsurge in the auction market following WWI. It was Fred Butterfield's ambition that placed Butterfields at par with the greatest sales rooms of London.
Mr. Reeder Butterfield, Fred's son, having grown up in the business, joined the firm in 1935 and carried on its tradition after his father's death. One of his biggest contributions was the development of the European and Asian markets - both acquiring consigned goods and in attracting collectors from those continents - making Butterfields one of the strongest auction houses in the market.
In August, 2002, Butterfields was acquired by Bonhams, the privately-owned British fine art auction house creating a united company under the new name Bonhams & Butterfields, specializing in the appraisal and sale of fine art, antiques and objects in all collecting categories. Both Bonhams and Butterfields have grown from modest origins to the current ranking as third largest auction house in the world, and continue to grow through a commitment to exceeding client expectations.