DEFINITION of 'Lyon & Turnbull'

Lyon & Turnbull is an auction house established in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1826. While smaller than Sotheby’s and Christie’s, Lyon & Turnbull is the largest auction house in Scotland, and has offices in London.

BREAKING DOWN 'Lyon & Turnbull'

Lyon & Turnbull, like several other auction houses, has expanded internationally to take advantage of the growing market for art and collectibles. While focusing primarily on the United Kingdom market with offices in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow, it has partnered with Freeman’s, an American auctioneer, to reach the U.S. market.

Lyon & Turnbull provides different types of auctioneering services: 

  • Valuations of art, jewelery and antiques that can be used for insurance purposes, valuing an estate or determining inheritance or capital gains taxes
  • Complementary estimates of the auction value of pieces
  • Assistance in acquiring new pieces, either through a Lyon & Turnbull auction or their network of contacts
  • Private and corporate auctions

The company also holds auctions for charitable causes and will hold a valuation night, similar to "Antiques Roadshow," to help charities raise funds. Auctions can be held at one of their locations, at the company or residence of the client, or an unrelated venue, depending on what location is best suited for the specific collection. For those unable to attend in person, online auctions services are available.

In addition to offering auctioneering services, Lyon & Turnbull and Freeman's team up to publish a magazine twice a year called International View. It contains information about recent auctions and the global art market, and interviews with those in the business.

Types of Auctions Held by Lyon & Turnbull

According to their website, Lyon & Turnbull has about 30 auctions per year, "including specialist categories such as Scottish paintings, British & European paintings, Asian works of art, jewellery, silver, antiques, books, furniture and contemporary art and design. In addition to our specialist auctions, our raison d'etre are single-owner collection sales. Each one carefully crafted to accentuate the quality and uniqueness of the particular collection, generating un-missable events for collectors, and high (often record) prices for our clients."


Freeman's, the auction house Lyon & Turnbull partners with, is the oldest auction house in the United States. It was founded by Tristram Bamfylde Freeman, who came from London as a printseller and was appointed to the office of auctioneer in Pennsylvania. Freeman's now has additional offices both nationally and internationally, and is still run by a member of the family, Samuel M “Beau” Freeman II.

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