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Poul Henningsen: "PH Grand Piano". Black stained wood, chrome steel and edge covered with black leather. Sold for: DKK 2,450,000 (EUR 430,000 including buyer’s premium).
Poul Henningsen: "PH Grand Piano". Black stained wood, chrome steel and edge covered with black leather. Sold for: DKK 2,450,000 (EUR 430,000 including buyer’s premium).

Press release -

Musical Design Treasure Sets New World Record

Bruun Rasmussen’s 70th anniversary auction concluded on a high note as Danish design came under the hammer Thursday evening. A musical instrument garnered quite a lot of the attention during a bidding round where it was knocked down for several million Danish kroner.

The auction's absolute highlight ended up being the sale of a grand piano created by the lighting designer Poul Henningsen (popularly known as "PH"). A fierce and 20-minute-long bidding battle between two phone bidders ended with a new world record for the "PH grand piano" with a hammer price of DKK 2,450,000 (EUR 430,000 including buyer’s premium).

The attention-grabbing instrument is a testimony to Henningsen's functionalism and was designed in 1931 as a way to deal with the lack of space in the small jazz venues. The lid and sheet holder are made of plexiglass to allow eye contact between the pianist and bass player, and the welded steel legs allowed room for the drummer's bass drum right next to the grand piano. At the same time, the leather on the sides of the piano made it easier to handle when transported from place to place.

Famous Players on the Piano

The piano in question was used at the restaurant "Belle Terrasse" in Tivoli, Copenhagen, during the period 1952-1997, where famous guests and musicians, such as Victor Borge, Liberace and Herbert von Karajan, sat down and had a go at the keys.

"This is a world record for Poul Henningsen at an auction and the highest hammer price for a piece of design here in Denmark. It is quite clear that we struck a chord here. Of course, the high hammer price is due to two passionate and stubborn bidders, but the provenance of the piano also played a part, as many iconic names of cultural history have been in contact with this grand piano. The hammer price is an example of how hard it can be to put a value on star power," says Peter Kjelgaard, Head of the Modern Design Department at Bruun Rasmussen.

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Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, England, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are put up for auction each year at the traditional auctions and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.

Press contacts

Camilla Streton

Camilla Streton

Communication Manager + 45 8818 1071
Peter Kjelgaard

Peter Kjelgaard

Head of Department Modern Decorative Art & Design + 45 8818 1191

Bruun Rasmussen – the Whole World's Auction House!

"Going once, going twice. Sold to the lady in the front row”. For 75 years, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers has sold art, antiques, design, jewellery, wristwatches and collector’s items in the heart of Copenhagen. It was Arne Bruun Rasmussen who founded the auction house at Bredgade 33 in 1948, and until 2022 the Bruun Rasmussen family owned the company. Today, the company is owned by the British auction house Bonhams - one of the world's leading and oldest auction houses.

Being a part of Bonhams, means that Bruun Rasmussen has joined a global network, which benefits both the art and the customers, the latter has gained access to far more auctions and the former has a better chance of achieving the market's best hammer prices. The goal is to constantly confirm to our customers that Bruun Rasmussen is a sought-after auction house with the highest expertise in valuation and sales. Bonhams and Bruun Rasmussen share the core values of knowledge, credibility, commitment and renewal, and the old Copenhagen auction house will thus continue to base its business on its well-known values under the auspices of Bonhams.

With CEO Jakob Dupont at the helm, an extensive digitization process has taken place during the past years, making the auction house a significant player on the international market. With solid experience and in-depth knowledge complemented by highly professional advice and appraisal service, the company is the link between sellers and interested buyers from all over the world. Every year, 70,000 unique works of art are sold at three types of auctions – the traditional Live Auctions and the two web-based auctions Online Auction and Direct Auction.

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers
Sundkrogsgade 30
2150 Nordhavn
Denmark
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