Our Story

Established in 1919, Leonard Joel is Australia’s premier auction house; a marketplace for the rare, the beautiful and the extraordinary.

At the intersection of art, capital and people lies a peculiar economy where more often than not an auction house or similar market place resides. Stripped back to its essential parts an auction house is not a particularly remarkable enterprise. It receives property from sellers, makes a market for that property and distributes it to buyers willing to pay the highest price. A fairly simple process really. But move beyond the bare bones; add the human element, the sheer breadth of mediums, subject matter, scale and provenance, that by their nature imbue every object with personality and history and you have a fascinating economy that brims with beautiful things and interesting people.

Leonard Joel offers specialist expertise and regular, curated auctions in Important and Fine Jewels & Timepieces, Fine Art, Decorative Arts, Asian Works of Art, Modern Design, Prints & Multiples, Luxury and more.

In addition to our regular curated category auctions, Leonard Joel specialises in the auction of Private Collections and in our history of more than 100 years, we are proud to have been entrusted with some of the most important and interesting collections in Australia.

Leonard Joel is also renowned for The Auction Salon; a long-running and popular auction offering over 1,000 lots of Furniture, Jewellery, Art and Objects every week. The Auction Salon attracts a broad range of sellers and buyers, from interior designers through to seasoned collectors.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Melbourne or Sydney salerooms soon.


Captain James Cook’s travelling chest, John Batman’s original deed of purchase of Melbourne, the 1909 Ashes Urn and the warrant for the arrest of Ned Kelly have all passed through Leonard Joel auctions along with countless other mementos and ephemera from our history. Explore the timeline below or browse our past auction catalogues to discover more.


Mr. Leonard Joel left his employment at Arthur Tuckett & Son and established his own business, Leonard Joel.


“Mr. Leonard Joel formerly of Messrs. Arthur Tuckett and Son, has opened an Art Salon at 362 Little Collins Street, where some beautiful examples of art, including pictures, ornaments and antiques, are now being displayed.” (Table Talk, Thursday 16 December 1920)


The W.H.D. Le Souef Collection of Curios
W.H.D. Le Souef (1856–1923) was Secretary (1870–82) and Director (1882–1902) of Melbourne Zoological Gardens. His collection of curios included the head of a 3,600 Egyptian Princess (the sister of Ptolemy) and the petrified bones of a plesiosaurus.


The Millions Club, a private members’ club in Sydney, acquired Australian art from Leonard Joel for the walls of their lounge.


The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. George Lansell, of Fortuna, Bendigo
George Lansell (1823–1906) was born in Kent, England and set sail for Australia with his brother, William in 1853. He settled in Bendigo and made his fortune in gold-mining. His mansion, Fortuna Villa, represents the wealth of the gold-rush era and is now open to the public for tours.


The Howard Collection of Ceramic Art
Auction Catalogue Foreword: “The late Mrs. A.J. Howard was a keen collector of the ‘Old’ as well as the ‘Modern.’ In this Antique Collection will be found Fine and Rare examples dating from Dr. Wall period Worcester to mid 19th century.”


The National Gallery of Victoria engaged Leonard Joel to disperse porcelain and objects from the state collection.


100 Pairs of Binoculars auction


The Gordon T. Robinson Collection of Antique Glass
Auction Catalogue Foreword: “The Collection is probably the largest and most comprehensive private collection of authentic antique glass in the Commonwealth.”


35 Two Gallon Tins of Finest Lucca Italian “Mercury” Olive Oil.


“High Prices: Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiques sold like hot cakes at Leonard Joel’s auction rooms.” (Herald Melbourne, Friday 29 July 1949)


A Russian Czarist Jewel
“Czar Nicholas I gifted the jewel to Dr. David John Williams, a Victorian surgeon, for services onboard the Imperial Yacht Queen Victoria in 1847. It is set in gold and diamonds with an amethyst centre.” (Argus, Melbourne Vic 1848–1957, Tuesday 19 June 1951)


Household Furniture with Angelus Player Piano and Electric Refrigerator
The electric refrigerator made several appearances at auction during the 1950s; a time when fridges were a luxury item for the new middle-classes of Australia.

The Emanuel Phillips Fox and Ethel Carrick Fox Collection of Paintings
Emanuel Phillips Fox (1865–1915) was an Australian impressionist painter. He married English born artist, Ethel Carrick, in 1905 and they lived together in Paris until 1913, when they relocated to Melbourne. Emanuel died in Melbourne in 1915, at which point Ethel embarked on two decades of travel through the Middle-East, Asia and Europe. She returned to Australia regularly to exhibit her work. Ethel died in Melbourne in 1952.


Mr. Leonard Joel passed away and his grandson, Warren, was born the same year.


Antique Furniture, Farming Plant
This auction included a Ferguson tractor, a plough, sheaves of hay, a muck spreader, two lawn-mowers, meat safes, milk buckets and ‘a host of sundries too numerous to itemize.’


The Contents of Nareeb
The Contents of Nareeb, one of the most lavish and impressive mansions in Toorak, included furnishings, pictures, art, china, silver, gas lights, two pianos and carpets. The contents were sold following the death of the last heir to the Simmons family, Gertrude Alice Simmons (1884–1964). Nareeb was demolished shortly after.


The Charles Ruwolt Collection of Australian Paintings
Charles Ernest Ruwolt (1873–1946) was a German born engineer and industrialist who emigrated to Australia with his family in 1878. He settled in Victoria and opened his own iron foundry in Wangaratta in 1902. During World War II, he began to manufacture armaments, employing over 2,000 workers. He owned several racehorses and was also a keen collector of Australian paintings.


Model Maggie Eckhardt is photographed by high profile fashion photographer, Bruno Benini. His wife and stylist, Hazel Benini, borrowed a table and kettle from Leonard Joel for the photo shoot.


The Hans Heysen Collection
One of the country’s most celebrated painters, German born artist Hans Heysen (1877–1968) redefined Australian landscape painting. His estate, which included many of his own works as well as paintings by Streeton and other Australian artists, was sold over two days at Malvern Town Hall.


Antique Paintings, China, Silver, Rugs etc.
This auction featured two ‘Fine Double Barrel 12 Gauge Shot-Guns’.


The Maharajah of Mysore Collection
This auction comprised a large collection of howdahs (carriages) from the palace of The Maharaja of Mysore, India.


The John M. Glen Collection of Oriental Effects
This auction included two swords from colonial India, the first of which was presented by H.R.H. Queen Victoria to the reigning Maharajah of Mysore, Krishereya Wodiar III in 1861 and the second by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales to Chamarajendra Wodiar Bamadur VII in 1875.


The Claire Adams MacKinnon Collection of Jewels
Claire Adams was a prominent movie star during Hollywood’s silent film era. She met and married Donald John Scobie MacKinnon (Scobie), the son of a wealthy Australian newspaper manager, in London in 1937. The couple later settled in Melbourne and led a glamourous life. Adams died in 1978 and left generous bequests to family, friends, animal welfare charities and the National Trust of Victoria. Her jewellery collection was, at the time, the most significant of its kind ever to appear at auction in Australia.


Winters Morning after Rain, Gardiner’s Creek by Tom Roberts sold for $190,000.


Settlers’ Camp by Arthur Streeton sold for $800,000.


La Salute, Venice by Arthur Streeton sold for $42,000. The painting was previously sold by Leonard Joel in 1946.


Treena Joel joined Leonard Joel and became the first female auctioneer in Melbourne.


Une Nuit De Canicule by Rupert Bunny sells for $1.25 million (the first painting in Australia to sell for over $1 million).


Final auction at 174 Inkerman Street, St Kilda.


First auction at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra. The beautiful and imposing Gothic revival building was the old Hawksburn Primary School, State School 1467.


The Rogowski Collection
Danuta and Ted Rogowski were European post-war immigrants. Their collection was said to include some of the finest art and antiques ever seen in Australia. On her death in 1997, Danuta Rogowski left $100,000 to The University of Melbourne ‘to establish scholarships for students enrolled or to be enrolled in the Faculty of Music.’


John Albrecht became proprietor and Managing Director of Leonard Joel.


The Dinesh Parekh Collection of Cameras
A retired psychologist, Dr. Dinesh Parekh grew up in Rajasthan, India. His passion for art and photography led him to acquire an outstanding collection of cameras and photography by some of the world’s most renowned makers and photographers from the 19th century to the present day.


Lieutenant Paul Joseph McGinness (1896–1952) was an Australian flying ace of the First World War, credited with seven aerial victories. He was also co-founder of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (Qantas). A group of eight WWI DFC, DCM Medals awarded to McGinness sold for over $256,200.


The Davis Family Collection of Phar Lap Memorabilia
This collection, which came from the family of David Davis, an American businessman and the co-owner of Phar Lap, included an inscribed album of thirty-six black and white photographs of all of Phar Lap’s race wins in Australia. The album sold for over $90,000.


The Graham Geddes Collection (the largest stock in trade antiques auction in Australian history).


The Andy Mac Collection of Street Art
Freeze Muthastika, a mural by various artists, sold for $68,320, a record price for a piece of street art at auction in Australia.


The Joel Barlow Collection

Leonard Joel Sydney opened in Woollahra, NSW.


The Estate of Colin Lanceley New Zealand born artist Colin Lanceley (1938–2015) studied painting at the National Art School under John Passmore. He taught at Chelsea School of Art, London in the 60s and his works were acquired by the Tate and the V&A. Throughout this time he exhibited regularly in Australia and returned to live in Sydney in the 80s. His eclectic collection featured prints by 20th century masters including Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, Joan Miró and Fernand Léger and sold for over $500,000.


The Ron Barrassi Collection of Football Memorabilia
The collection of Australia’s most celebrated AFL player sold to businessman Paul Little AO for a record price prior to auction.


The Kozminsky Collection
When renowned jewellery house Kozminsky closed its doors in 2017, it was the end of an era for many and the stock in trade auction became the most expensive of its kind in Australia.


The Opera Australia Collection of Costumes & Memorabilia


The Decorative Arts Collection of the Late James Fairfax AC

An extraordinary collection which reflected the travels and passions of the man behind it. The auction attracted bidders from all over the world and sold for over $1.75 million.


The Ray Schlager Collection of Jewellery
This auction of antique jewellery featured an important diamond set enamel and gold Russian imperial presentation box with monogram of Tsar Alexander II (1855–81) which sold for $124,000.


The 1909 ‘Monty Noble’ Ashes Urn

The 1909 Ashes Urn, which was presented to Australia’s cricket Captain Monty Noble on his team’s victory over England, sold for over $80,000.


The Hose Collection of Clocks

The most important collection of its kind to appear at auction in Australia.


The Magical Studio of Mirka Mora
The studio contents of much-loved Melbourne artist, Mirka Mora, sold for over $1 million and attracted over 1,500 bidders as crowds flocked to acquire a personal memento of Mirka.


A magnificent 20.05 carat diamond ring sells for $1,625,000, making it the most expensive diamond ever sold at auction in Australia.


Important Works from the NAB Art Collection

Curated by the National Australia Bank’s Art Committee in the 1970s, the collection covered traditional periods through to modern and contemporary, and included nine extraordinary tapestries. The works had largely been hidden from the public for almost fifty years. The auction delivered a 100% sale rate and broke 29 auction records.


Final auction at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.


First auction at 1A Oxley Road, Hawthorn.