By Daniel Geiger
Bonhams, a British based auction house that specializes in the sale of fine art and other high-end and hard to find collectibles, is renewing its lease at 590 Madison Avenue, according to sources. The company has about 23,400 s/f at the property, most of it on a basement level used as office space for its New York operations and a gallery to display items and collections that it is selling to potential buyers. The company’s space at the property, which is known as a high-end office tower in midtown’s exclusive Plaza District, also includes a lobby area on the ground floor and a mezzanine level within the building’s spacious atrium where Bonhams holds its New York auctions.
Bonhams originally subleased the space in 2008 from the Dehesh Museum, relocating from nearby 595 Madison Avenue. The auctioneer is currently preparing for a May sale in which it will be selling artifacts and memorabilia from the Space Race to coincide with the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Freedom 7 launch, which made the mission’s pilot Alan Shepard the first American and the second person – after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – to enter space.
Among the items to be auctioned are a Soviet spacesuit worn by the Soviet pilot Alexei Lenov on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in July 1975, a joint U.S. and Soviet space rendezvous in which an American Apollo and Russian Soyuz spacecraft met and docked together in orbit. The event represented a period of détente between the superpowers and the symbolic end of the competitive Space Race. Estimates for the suit according to Bonhams’ website put its value at between $100,000 to $150,000. Among the dozens of other items in the auction is also a tissue dispenser from the Apollo 14 mission, the third U.S. mission to land on the moon, that Bonhams values at between $6,000 to $8,000.
Bonhams’ space was set to expire next year when its sublease with Dehesh ran out. 590 Madison Avenue is owned by the real estate investment and development company Edward J. Minskoff Equities. The landlord was not available for comment. Rents in the deal could not be verified by press time.