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However, there have only been two traditional auctions of Bonsai in the Western World since the turn of the 20th century.

The first was at Sotheby’s Bond Street on June 17, 1999; the
second took place on May 30
this year at the Exeter rooms of Bearne’s (15/10% buyer’s
premium), where this spruce little 70-year-old hawthorn, pictured, led out 81 lots of trees that had been
collected by a local man since the early 1960s.

Japan is by far the biggest
market for Bonsai trees, but
stringent import restrictions on plants (common to most countries) meant that auctioneer and vendor had to rely exclusively on demand from UK collectors and interior
decorators. Home-grown support was sufficient, however, to sell all the lots, with this award-winning, exhibition-quality hawthorn
bringing the top price of £600.