About Us

New Zealand's 21st Century Auction House

'To glimpse the future they would all do well to take a look at the fresh and exciting way in which auctions are being presented by a true 21st  century auction house - New Zealand's Art + Object. Real inspiration is only as far away as our Antipodean neighbors.'

Quote from Adrian Newstead, Australian art commentator and former Managing Director of Menzies Art Brands in a review of the Australian art auction industry in June 2011.

ART+OBJECT was founded in early 2007 with the goal to bring a more contemporary voice to the Australasian auction scene. The founding directors Hamish Coney, James Parkinson and Ben Plumbly bring decades of experience of the art and auction worlds together with significant business and professional achievements. A+O has pioneered the presentation of contemporary art and objects in an auction context; our very first auction set this direction and received great support from New Zealand collectors. A+O directors are regular contributors to industry journals, public speakers, media commentators and have sat on peer review panels to public art institutions.

Since A+O's first auction in May 2007 the company has offered over 50 catalogues of Important Paintings, Contemporary Art, Photography, Modern Design, Decorative Arts, Rare Books, Asian Art and major private collections. 

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Late 2011 saw A+O achieve some significant milestones in the form of art sales of $20 million and the completion of 1000 valuation mandates. A+O also led the way with major sales recording three of the top four sales for the year.  He calls for Elias

ART+OBJECT holds ten to twelve auctions per annum  - these are notable for a distinct theme and approach and industry leading catalogue design, exhibition display and online marketing which includes regular video presentations. These catalogues can be found in the past archive section of our website. A+O was the first New Zealand auction house to offer live streaming and bidding for out of town and offshore bidders.

In addition to A+O's auction program the valuation division under the directorship of James Parkinson is the leading valuation and professional advisor in New Zealand regularly providing valuation and consultancy advice to New Zealand's public art galleries, museums, university collections and major corporates.  Please refer to the valuation section of the website for more information on the service A+O provides in these areas.

A+O's directors and staff are collectors in their own right. It is fair to say the company was founded by collectors for collectors. This has resulted in A+O becoming the leading New Zealand auction house for the sale of large and diverse private and corporate collections. Over the last five years A+O has been favoured with numerous fascinating and important collections.

Major collections at art + object

The sale of 285 lots formerly being the stock in trade of Auckland's oldest private gallery. Artworks included rare 19th century watercolours and photographs, mid 20th century modernist works on paper and canvases and major works by some of New Zealand leading artists. A highlight of the catalogue was the sale of Ralph Hotere's 1982 masterpiece Towards Aramoana for over $240 000.

John Perry is a legendary Public Gallery Director, archivist, historian and authority on New Zealand's applied arts and material culture. The sale of his collection was an event that attracted collectors of every stripe and hue and great fun. The collection included strong sections of taonga, tapa, folk art, rare prints and curiosities.

Uncovered during an Antiques Roadshow fundraising event for the Rotorua Art Gallery, this extraordinary collection relating to Napoleon's last years on the island of St. Helena made the six o'clock news and the front cover of the Antiques Trade Gazette. The rest as they say is history!

A+O was favoured to offer 60 works from the estate of New Zealand's most well known mid-century photographer. The catalogue has been acknowledged as an important addition to the publications on Brake and contained essays by leading writers including Peter Simpson, Gavin Hipkins, Bruce Connew and Kriselle Baker. The A+O team and guests also made a pilgrimage to Brian Brake's Ron Sang designed home in the Waitakere Ranges thanks to the gracious co-operation of the current owners. Highlights of this catalogue can be viewed in the past archive.


Arguably the auction event of 2011. This superb holding of 50 major works by many of our leading artists was one of the most well attended art auctions ever held at A+O. Numerous artist auction records were set. Highlight of the sale was the sale of Bill Hammond's 2001 masterpiece Singer Songwriter for $322 435.

Michael Seresin is a leading international cinematographer, passionate New Zealander and winemaker. Over a number of decades he assembled a world class collection of photography by many of the leading figures of the early and mid 20th century. A+O was honoured to offer this world class collection which resulted in fierce competition between New Zealand institutions, private collectors and international bidders. 

This collection of impeccable provenance was nothing short of a sensation. Rare examples of some of the most sought after makers such as Dame Lucie Rie, Bernard Leach, Hans Coper and Shoji Hamada attracted global interest and one of the highest clearance rates ever recorded at A+O.

A+O produced a well-received catalogue to celebrate the sale of one of the greatest collections of rare 20th century design ever offered in New Zealand. Strong pricing was achieved thoughout the catalogue with many new benchmarks recorded.

One of the last and greatest private libraries created huge interest from public archives and private collectors - with many never been viewed rare items from this legendary historian and collector. The result far exceeded all expectations to make it one of A+O's most successful auctions.



ART+OBJECT has also offered:

Michael Barrymore and Shaun Davis Collection of 20th Century Design
Barry Wilkes Collection of Film and TV Toys 2007
ART & Text Group Collection of Contemporary Art 2008
Stephen Rainbow Collection of post war British Ceramics 2008
Gary Langsford Collection of Italian Glass 2008
Sulu Gallery Collection of Tribal Art 2008
Colenso BBDO Collection 2008
Colin Manson Estate of Decorative Arts 2008
Price Waterhouse Coopers Collection 2008
Hanging Around Group 2008


Jim Drummond Collection of New Zealand Decorative Arts

Odyssey Group Collection of Contemporary Art 2009
Ross Sutton Toy Collection 2010
Newman Estate Collection 2010
Selected Works from the Estate of A. Lois White 2010
Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins Collection of Modern Design 2011
Barry Ferguson Collection of Floral Art 2011
Leo Tattersfield Collection of Chinese Jade 2012
English Collection of 20th Century Design 2012
Hodgson Collection of Contemporary Art 2012

The people behind Art + Object

  • Ben Plumbly

    Ben Plumbly

    Director ART

    Ben heads A+O's art division with a key focus on contemporary art and new genres to the auction market such as photography as well as stimulating the mainstream art market. Ben has a first class honours degree in art history from Otago University and has undertaken post graduate study on new photo media in Melbourne. 

    He is a passionate collector and supporter of photographic and digital media. Ben comes from a long family tradition in the auction sector, his parents being Trevor and Pam Plumbly former owners of the noted Dunedin Auction House.

    Ben has handled numerous major collections in recent years including the Michael Seresin Collection of 20th century photography, The David and Angela Wright Collection of Contemporary Art and most recently the Russell and Shirley Hodgson Collection of Contemporary Art. He is a regular contributor to industry Journals and public speaker as well as being a foundation member of the ART 50 philanthropic patron's group.

    In 2010 Ben negotiated one of most significant private sales of the last decade in excess of 1.4 million dollars for a major Colin McCahon multi-panel work.

    Ben is a collector in his own right with a particular focus on Australasian photographic and new media work.


    021 222 8183
    +64 9 306 6191


    Director of Valuations and Collections Management

    James has 20 years experience as an auctioneer and valuer. He is a degree qualified historian and completed further post-graduate studies in valuation methodology with the New Zealand Property Institute. He is New Zealand's only accredited Property Institute valuer and who specializes in art, antiques, institutional and estate valuations.

    James has led A+O's institutional valuation mandates. Recent major valuation assignments include the Hocken Library, Auckland City Art Gallery, Rotorua Bathhouse Museum, Taupo Museum, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, St Cuthberts School, Ernst & Young, Hawkes Bay Museum, University of Auckland, Historic Places Trust, City Gallery Wellington and the Auckland City Libraries. He has recently completed the entire applied arts and ceramics collection of the Dowse Gallery.

    In 2011 James completed one of New Zealand's the largest and most comprehensive valuations, the complete Kingitanga collection of highly important Taonga housed in Ngaruawahia.

    James also manages A+O's Decorative Arts auction catalogues and in recent years has offered the Martin Hill Collection of British Ceramics, The Jim Drummond Collection and the Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins Collection of Modern Design.

    James has conducted a half hour show with Danny Watson for the last  eight years on news talk 1ZB  giving on line appraisals and discussing collecting trends.

    James' specialist areas of collecting are NZ applied arts and Himalayan and Tibetan Buddhist Art. He makes regular trips to Asia to further his knowledge in this area. 


    021 222 8184
    +64 9 306 6192
  • Hamish Coney

    Hamish Coney

    Managing Director

    Hamish is a degree qualified art historian who graduated  from the University of Auckland. Hamish manages the day to day affairs of the company and works closely with the art department to source and present major artworks. Hamish also offers consultancy services to corporate organizations and inrecent years has managed the installation of site specific works in Deutsche Bank's Auckland Headquarters. In 2010 he managed an extensive competition which resulted in the installation of one of the most significant public sculptures installed in recent years, Gregor Kregar's impressive hanging work Twisting the Void in the new IAG Insurance headquarters building in downtown Auckland.

    In 2010 Hamish managed the presentation of the important Napoleonic Collection which attracted international interest and in 2012 he will offer a rare collection of WWII archive material signed by Winston Churchill.

    In 2005 he managed New Zealand's largest ever charity art auction for The Louise Perkins Foundation. He has a regular art column in Idealog magazine which he has written since 2006 for which he was awarded Arts Columnist of the year at the 2009 Qantas media awards. He is a collector of contemporary New Zealand and Australian art with a specific interest in new media work.

    021 509 550
    +64 9 306 6193
  • Leigh Melville

    Leigh Melville

    Director ART

    Leigh is an experienced art professional, prior to joining A+O in 2007 she held management positions in several Auckland dealer galleries. Leigh's role involves management of art clients and systems and assisting in the preparation of catalogues and the administration of documentation. Leigh is actively involved with supporting a number of philanthropic organisations including the NBR New Zealand Opera.

    In 2012 Leigh was appointed to the prestigious role of co-chair of the Patrons of the Venice Biennale. She is actively involved in preparations for the Bill Culbert exhibition in Venice 2013.

    She is a collector of contemporary New Zealand paintings, photography and glass.

    021 406 678
    +64 9 306 6190
  • Giulia Rodighiero

    Giulia Rodighiero

    Front of House Manager and Asian Arts Specialist

    Giulia specializes in Chinese Art and worked for more than two years in the Asian Art Department at Christie's South Kensington, London. She graduated in Chinese Studies from Ca' Foscari University, Venice, and she obtained a masters degree in Asian Arts and Archaeology from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London. She also spent a year in China studying Chinese Art at the Beijing University. In 2012 Giulia was responsible for the cataloguing and presentation of A+O's first groundbreaking Asian Art Catalogue.

    Giulia works closely with the directors to prepare the auctions and deliver client services.

    +64 9 354 4646
  • Pam Plumbly

    Pam Plumbly

    Rare book Consultant

    Pam is well known to New Zealand's rare book collectors having conducted auctions for the last two decades. Formerly an owner of Plumbly's Auction House in Dunedin, Pam has relocated to Auckland and has held eight successful rare book auctions at A+O. A highlight to date was the discovery of a vast archive of research material containing original letters and documents dating from the late 19th century - the entire cache of letters etc being the personal research archive of James Cowan the noted historian.

    021 448 200
    +64 9 306 6194



    Georgi holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History and History from The University of Auckland. During her tertiary studies she specialised in contemporary Pacific art, photography, and modern and contemporary American and European art.

    Georgi is the first point of contact at A+O, providing support in the areas of reception and arts administration. She works closely with the Front of House Manager and Directors to prepare auction catalogues to be viewed on the website and in the gallery. She also manages the social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) and undertakes photography for auction catalogues. 



    +64 9 354 4646