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Friday, January 14, 2011

Auction News: Goodbye Thomas Høiland?

I recently clicked on my bookmark to go visit the web site of Danish stamp and coin auctioneer Thomas Høiland.

The Thomas Høiland Auctions building
For many years, this has been one of my favorite "big" auction firms in Scandinavia, offering some of the finest material from the Nordic countries and beyond. I've particularly like them, on account of their extraordinary offerings of Denmark, especially as accumulations and box lots.

Much to my surprise, I found myself looking not at what I expected-- a spring auction catalogue-- but a notice that the company had sold its stamp operations to Danish art auctioneer Bruun-Rasmussen.

Meanwhile, Høiland's "web auction" division has already been transferred to Norwegian stamp and coin auctioneer Skanfil A/S. As a long time client of Skanfil, I know the web division is in capable hands.

Now, I know the Bruun-Rasmussen firm because my father was an art collector, and he'd sometimes take me to auctions with him. I realize they are a highly respected firm, and are certainly capable of conducting high quality auctions. What concerns me is that a "stamps only" firm is becoming part of a "general" art auction house... how will this affect the quality and quantity of material offered? I have previously seen Bruun-Rasmussen's stamp auctions and they were very nice, but small affairs with maybe 800-1000 very "exclusive" items... not the giant 10,000+ lot offerings of a Thomas Høiland auction.

The news release from the Høiland firm also stated that founder Thomas Høiland-- along with a number of his staff members-- would be moving along to the Bruun-Rasmussen company.

I have hopes that the quality of Thomas Høiland stamp auctions will find its way to Bruun-Rasmussen... but, for the moment, I am taking a "wait and see" approach.