Company history

On August 23, 1773, Maria Theresa founded Hungary's company, with the greatest history a legal successors: the First Hungarian Royal Pawn Office, which now operates under the name BÁV Aukciósház és Záloghitel Zrt. The ornate royal founding letter signed by Maria Theresa in 1773 is a highly valued piece of our memorabilia.

The company has been a leading player in the Hungarian pledge market since the beginning, but it is also ranked first in the jewellery, silver, gold and works of art segments of art trade.

Its activities are both characterised by adherence to traditions and the pursuit of continuous renewal, ensuring dynamic development and close ties to the modern commercial-financial world. Its profile has remained faithful to its traditions, but at the same time it adapts its diverse offers and services in accordance with the changes in the market and the prevailing customer habits. It is characteristic of the spirit of BÁV that it never regarded its activities as a purely business matter. From the first art auction, which was held in 1920, up to today, the support of fine artists and the protection of works of art plays an important role in the company's life.

Turning points in the history of the company


1773 First Hungarian Royal Pawn Office (Bratislava): The predecessor of our company is the first Hungarian royal pawn office organized on the Vienna sample, in Bratislava. The Latin language privilege letter was signed by Maria Theresa on 23 August 1773.

1787 Royal Hungarian Pawn Office (Buda): Due to inflation, slowed trade and the decline in turnover, the head office of the pawn office was moved from Bratislava to Buda, the Víziváros in 1787.

1802 Royal Downtown Pawn Office (Pest): With the strengthening of Pest — between 10 February and 21 April 1802 — the headquarters of the pawn office were re-moved to the building of the former Clarissa convent at the corner of today's Királyi Pál and Szerb Street.

1903 Construction of a central headquarters (Kinizsi Street): It became necessary to create a central complex, which is already equipped with customer traffic and storage rooms and an auction hall corresponding to the technical standards of the age. As a result, the Central Pawn Office was built in 1903 not far from downtown, at the corner of Kinizsi and Lónyay Street.

1919 Hungarian State Pawn Offices: After the victory of the Council Republic, the institution became under the authority of the People's Commissariat for Social Production, known as “Hungarian State Pawn Offices”.

1920 State Auction Hall: The Auction Hall started its operation on February 17, 1920. The primary purpose of its creation was to ensure the location of the auctions, which were initially referred to as Rescue Fairs. In addition, the pawn office also conducted daily auctions here. Another reason for creating the hall was that in its exhibition halls the audience could get acquainted with the products and works of art of the domestic industry. (Applied artists could sell their works here.)

In the sight of successful auctions, the board of pawnshops initiated an art auction with the relevant ministry, for which it was granted permission. Governor Miklós Horthy participated in the first auction. On October 1, 1922, the State Stocking Company merges into the Hungarian State Pawn Offices.

6 October, 1920 The first art auction.

1924 Hungarian Royal Postal Savings Bank: The Hungarian State Pawn Offices and Postal Savings Bank merged with July 1, 1924. From 1 August 1946 — when the forint was introduced — the business turnover started again with a new spirit, a new interest rate policy and a temporary moderate lending.

1948 State Pawn Office and Auction Hall National Company: On 1 September 1948, the pledge activity was separated from the Postal Savings Bank and started its independent operation as a new company called “State Pawn Office and Auction Hall”. In November 1948, the company's profile was expanded to include 'consignment sales of movables.

1951 Consignment Store Company: The scope of activity of the state company was much wider than that of other retail companies: in principle, it covered the purchase, consignment and sale of almost all articles.

1991 Consignment Trading House and Pawnshop Ltd.: After the regime change, the company became a public limited company, and in 1992 the owners made a subscribed capital increase of HUF 200 million.

1997 Introduction of BÁV shares to the stock exchange: The public market of BÁV Rt.'s shares took place from 29 September 1997 to 10 October 1997. On 4 December 1997, two million ordinary shares with a nominal value of 1,000 HUF were introduced on the Budapest Stock Exchange.

1998 BÁV Zálog Pénzügyi és Szolgáltató Rt. was founded: The financial undertaking is 100% owned by BÁV Rt. and the lien lending activity is carried out by BÁV Rt. as an intermediary.

2001 The company is converted into a private limited liability company: The shares are removed from the stock market. After conscious profile cleaning, the company currently has three business sectors: pledge lending, trade, which, in addition to the purchase, sale and auction of paintings, furniture, carpets, works of art, gold and silver jewellery, deals with the sale of gold bars marketed by BÁV, as well as the Appraiser Academy.


2007 Opening of the BÁV Auction House — Budapest, Bécsi Street 1. Opened in May 2007, the BÁV Auction House uniquely combines the functions of the auction house, the work of art shop and the gallery on the Hungarian art market. With the effective coordination of art trade activities, the Auction House has become a real multifunctional trading centre.

BÁV Business Branches



In the course of its art trade activities, BÁV considers it an important mission to participate actively in the search, preservation and enhancement of national cultural treasures with its expertise and experience accumulated over many decades, in the search, preservation and enhancement of the cultural history transmitted by objects, support the development of private and public collections, as well as the efforts of collectors of growing generations. The Budapest art trade network and the modern Auction House provide a reliable background for this.  Its auctions, which are held several times a year, are outstanding events of the Hungarian art trade.

In the BÁV Jewelry Galleries you can choose between precious metal jewellery, watches, souvenirs and accessories.


BÁV Pawn

BÁV Zálog has been a leading player in the Hungarian pledge lending market since its inception, and as such it is one of the most reliable partners of the service users.  BÁV's pawnshop network is available in almost 100 places in the country.

The objective of the pledge business is to gain customer satisfaction with its extensive, secure and fast financial services.


BÁV Appraiser Academy

The BÁV Appraiser Academy with its half-century history is one of the Hungarian centers of appraisal education. Our students are trained by highly qualified professionals with decades of experience in five specializations. In the framework of practice-oriented training, students can learn the basics of the appraiser profession in a unique high number of hours at the BÁV Academy.