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The acquisition, which brings Australia’s third oldest auction house under the Bonhams and Goodman banner, firmly establishes Bonhams as the largest fine art auctioneer in the Southern Hemisphere, the auctioneers told ATG.

Tim Goodman, Chairman of Bonhams & Goodman, who has spent four months negotiating the deal, also announced a 20 per cent rise in sales for 2008 so far.

The Joel deal realises his long-held ambition to merge the businesses of what he dubbed “the great Australian auctioneering families” – the Bruce’s of Adelaide (Theodore Bruce was established in 1878), the Joels, Stanley & Co and the Badgerys – which he has already acquired.

Warren Joel will remain as chief executive under contract and the business will continue to operate out of its current address on Malvern Road, South Yarra.