It all started when Brad Witherell was gifted a Civil War-era Henry rifle from his uncle as a teen, spurring his lifelong obsession with vintage firearms and American Old West antiques. In 1969 Brad founded Witherell’s as an antique appraiser and dealer.
In 1983, Brad held his first Western American auction in 1983 at a hotel ballroom in San Francisco. When the logistics of moving heavy items upstairs became complicated, he enlisted his 16-year-old son, Brian, to manage the process. Thus began a father and son’s decades-long journey into the world of collectors and the antiques they love, filled with fond memories and many blessings.
Witherell now has international reach with a focus on notable collections throughout the United States, especially in western states like California and Nevada. Our Northern headquarters allows us to serve high-net-worth regions within a half-day radius that includes the Napa and Sonoma wine country, the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, the Monterey Peninsula, the San Joaquin and Fresno Valley, the foothills of HWY 49, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Carson Valley, Redding and the Redwood Empire, and a day’s drive from Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Boise and Portland.
When evaluating a collection, our Antiques Roadshow-trained expert arrives in a specially outfitted vehicle fully equipped to evaluate and transport important collections or heirlooms to auction with unmatched expertise and efficiency.
Brad and Angie WitherellFounders
Founders Brad and Angie Witherell held their first auction in 1982 at the Embassy Suites hotel in San Francisco. In hindsight, it was an incredible venture, launched on borrowed money. It included over 800 lots, sold over two days, featuring Tiffany windows, antique firearms, slot machines, antique advertising, saloon nudes and historic furnishings. With no auction experience they risked the only capital they had; trust, hard work and optimism. With the help of their three teenage kids they pulled off the first “Americana Auction.” More than forty years (40) later the company has grown into a multi-million dollar business holding over 30 themed, Holliday and single owner auctions per year.
Over the years they’ve been approached by multiple investors and competitors to sell or partner but resisted the temptation in favor of building an independent family business founded on honesty and integrity. Brad always cited the words of legendary auctioneer Roy Arrington. “Why would I take in a partner? I already have two; my wife and Uncle Sam.”
Brian and Donna WitherellOwners
Brian Witherell says, “I never worked harder than I did on that first auction in 1982 and I loved it! He turned sixteen that weekend and his fate of being an auctioneer was set. It’s a good thing because he was never much of an academic. He now tells his kids, “I was lucky. I had a professor who loved me.”
For years Brad and Brian traveled the countryside together attending shows, visiting clients and participated in the PBS TV series, Antiques Roadshow. He claims, “there is no better education than learning a trade from your dad. I will always be grateful for his time, patience and unwavering support.”
Brian and his wife Donna assumed ownership of the company in 2024. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So, they will continue with the firms decades long philosophy of steady, managed growth with an unwavering commitment to client services.
Nancy Witherell paved her own path in the arts field by building a successful consulting company specializing in art installations for hospitals and other public spaces. In addition to being a devoted mother, daughter and an advocate for many fine causes she is a regional representative for Witherell's, servicing Sonoma county and the surrounding region. Her writing, organization, and management skills are an asset to the company and we hope her role in the company grows as we expand.
In her spare time, Nancy enjoys playing chess, the ukulele and traveling with her spouse, Betty.
Daphne Witherell provides clerical services to the company as time permits. She is currently attending Amherst and running cross country and track. She hopes to attend Law School after college.
Bennett Witherell assists his dad with pick-ups and deliveries when time permits. He currently attends Mclatchy High School. He hopes to enter politics after graduating from college.
Susan Hambly joined Witherell fifteen (15) years ago after retiring from her first career as a physician. She is our senior appraiser, cataloguer and Southern California regional representative. She is a generalist with an emphasis on art, silver and decorative arts. In her spare time, she volunteers, spends time with her two dogs and travels with her family.
Sheldon Carpenter brings a broad knowledge and experience to Witherell as a former apple employee and auctioneer. He is currently the company’s primary photographer and manages digital marketing. Sheldon volunteers when he’s not spending time with his daughter.
Andrew Donavon is passionate about history, especially WWII. He assists consignment directors with inputting property, warehousing and fulfillment. He’s also a beginning cataloguer and the utility player who gets called in for the odd jobs, which he takes on with a smile. Andrew brings a youthful enthusiasm to the company that we all appreciate. He does civil war re-enactments and enjoys camping and traveling with his girlfriend Natalie in his spare time.
Tatum DeMarco is our newest employee. She manages our 3TDA (3rd Thursday Discovery Auctions) sales as an independent department where she single handedly photographs and catalogues about 3000 lots per year. She also greets our annex auction customers in person and by phone with a welcoming smile and helpful tone. Her favorite categories are modern art and collectibles. She loves animals and enjoys camping and time with friends and family in her spare time.
Poncho is mostly the company watch dog but does guard against the possible threat of passing squirrels, cats and dogs. He’d prefer to live like someone left the gate open but when it’s closed he’s content sniffing and napping. Poncho is irrationally optimistic about the potential of spontaneous appearance of food.
“My dad and I spend our lives immersed in the world of antique appraisals and estate auctions. The Sacramento region is rich in history and we love being part of it.”