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They will also drop vendors’ commissions at the top end at both Knightsbridge and Bond Street in a bid to attract more high-value consignments.

The former Knightsbridge premium rate was 17.5 per cent on the first £30,000 and 10 per cent above that level. Both rooms will now charge 19.5 per cent on the first £70,000 of the hammer price and 10 per cent on the balance above that.

All three main London auction houses have now brought their buyer’s premium rates into line for their primary and secondary rooms. Sotheby’s brought their Olympia premium in line with that at Bond Street in January 2003, charging 20 per cent on the first £70,000 and 12 per cent on the excess. Christie’s, who brought their South Kensington rate up to King Street levels last month, charge 19.5 per cent on the first £70,000 and 12 per cent above that level.

At the same time as Bonhams increase their Knightsbridge buyer’s premium rate, they will also restructure the commission rate at both leading rooms for the benefit of sellers, who will only be charged on the first £70,000, with zero commission payable thereafter. This initiative follows the success of a pilot scheme introduced a year ago at Bond Street.

“Dropping vendor’s commission on high-value objects has proved very popular with clients,” said Matthew Girling, chairman of Bonhams’ Knightsbridge. Increasing the buyer’s premium at Knightsbridge, which has remained unchanged since March 2002, brings it into line with New Bond Street, he added.

Sales of coins and medals, stamps, wine and motor vehicles are not affected by the changes.