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End of a gun auction era?

Bonhams has closed its modern sporting guns department.

Bonhams, one of the oldest auction houses in the country, has closed its modern sporting guns department, bringing an end to dedicated sporting gun sales in London.

The move has come as a surprise to many in the industry; Bonhams was established in 1793 and has been selling arms since the mid-1800s. However, the company will continue to auction sporting arms in future sales under head of department David Williams.

Bonhams global director of communications Lucinda Bredin explained; “Bonhams is streamlining the Arms and Armour department and will continue to offer the finest sporting guns within the existing sales.”

Vintage firearms expert Diggory Hadoke told Shooting Times: “It essentially means that London is no longer home to any important modern sporting gun auctions, when it once had four major players — Holts, Christie’s, Bonhams and Sotheby’s. All have now closed or have moved to the provinces.”

Diggory also said: “It really does mark the end of an era and takes London off the map as a major centre of commerce for gun collectors and the trade.”