bickenstaff & knowles history

A Unique Idea Born from Necessity

Bickenstaff & Knowles was acquired in 1971, initially to act as a specialist trading division of Rippon Boswell & Company, Established 1884, International Auctioneers of rare Oriental Carpets.

The ever-growing success and worldwide reputation of Rippon Boswell in the field of rare old and antique carpets during the 1960s led to the company receiving an increasing amount of enquiries concerning the disposal of "problem" stocks: bankrupt companies' liquidated stock, customs-seized trans-shipments etc.

As this specialised form of auction activity was entirely outside Rippon Boswell's sphere of operations, and also primarily involved the disposal of large quantities of mainly contemporary examples as opposed to Rippon Boswell's focus on antique items, it was decided to form a specialist intermediary division to handle these unusual and difficult problem commissions. Thus Bickenstaff & Knowles was acquired as the company responsible for this function.

The newly affiliated company of Auctioneers and Liquidators enjoyed immediate success among both its commissioning clients and the widespread market of private customers who had long sought an auction situation for the advantageous acquisition of high quality handmade Eastern carpets of decorative rather than collectable calibre. It became increasingly recognised as the leading international intermediary with the necessary expertise, uniquely tailored range of services and far-reaching international network to act between the supply and demand of handmade Persian and Oriental carpets throughout the world.

The repercussions on the Oriental carpet business of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the devaluation of the Iranian currency in 1987 served to propel Bickenstaff & Knowles into a period of exponential growth, leading to a series of world class commissions involving previously unheard-of quantities of major inventory which gave the company the global stature and dominant recognition it has been privilaged to possess and build upon up until the present day.