Luxury properties merge with fine art and antiques, offering Washingtonians the best of both.
By Sarah Valerio
In many respects, it was a marriage of equals celebrated in Georgetown: Beasley Real Estate, Washington’s newest boutique luxury real estate firm, and Bonhams, the London-based international fine art auction house.
Both opened up in D.C. late last year and recently celebrated their new partnership at an invite-only reception at The George Town Club where guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’ouevres amidst a sprawling collection of featured items on display from Bonhams’ New York Fine Books & Manuscripts sale, “The Mapping and Discovery of America.”
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with a firm of such high caliber,” said Jim Bell, Beasley’s founder and managing partner. “We wanted to offer another service to our clients, and there is no better fit than Bonhams. They offer the same high standards and quality we do and their business really aligns closely with ours. It is a natural development to connect our clients with Bonhams’ services.”
Bell elaborated on what he felt was a natural partnership between Washington’s luxury real estate properties and its high-end art and antiques market. “These properties house the best collections of art and antiques in the city,” he added. “The partnership will allow us to provide one more service and vet an auction house for our clients.”
“We have a lot of synergies with clientele,” said Dr. Martin Gammon, who recently moved to Washington from San Francisco to lead Bonhams’ newest outpost. “It better enables us to provide support services to people with fine taste in art and real estate. We both want to provide opportunities, advice and experiences beyond a monetary transaction. I look forward to working with Beasley clients and offering them our expertise and services as an international market leader.”
Bonhams was founded in 1793 in London. Today, it’s one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, with representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialty areas.
“D.C. is one of the great cultural capitals in North America,” Gammon added. “The quality of the museums here is a reflection of the quality of local private collectors. When you think Washington, you think politics, but this partnership really celebrates what is great about Washington on the arts side.”
Featured items from the collection on display at the event included a letter written by Jonathan Swift, works by Ernest Hemingway, a manuscript from the Webster American Dictionary, the first book in which the word “America” appears, and a collection of early maps of America; a display which, in the words of Gammon, “shows the caliber of Bonhams’ collections.”
“The partnership will be of benefit to both Beasley and Bonhams. It will help introduce Bonhams to the D.C. market and get them access to the best art and antiques in the area,” Bell said.