The Auction Insider

We are looking forward to this Saturday, Sept. 6, and a full day in beautiful Pope Valley, delivering a genuine American experience with our Live Auction of a collection from the Pope Valley Store, hotel and saloon. It’s been a while since we’ve held an event like this one – an auction in which buyers must be present to bid and there is no “reserve” bidding. But, more importantly, the auction of countless items from the 1870’s homestead features so many one-of-a-kind antiques and collectibles from the American West, I can’t remember when we’ve been able to present a live auction as unique as this one promises to be.

I started working auctions when I was 16 years old, under the guidance of my father, Brad Witherell. And, I’ve watched as auctions migrated from town halls and barns to the Internet. Pope Valley will be a return to the distant past – with the excitement and energy that just can’t be shared online. One unique benefit of a live auction is the chance that buyers will find “fresh” merchandise – wonderful surprises that are seldom found in online auctions where buyers are at great physical (and perhaps emotional) distance.

I remember one exceptional experience at a live auction where I was bidding on behalf of a client on a sword presented to John Sutter as a tribute to Sutter’s part in founding the state of California. I was bidding against some major competition and we were all prepared to bid in the mid-five-figures for the historic piece. The whole collection featured remarkable artifacts of California’s history – swords, law badges, firearms, Gold Rush items and more. We competed head-to-head with the big guns while communicating with our buyer on the phone. In the end, Witherells walked away with the prize at around $250,000 – just another example of how the value of an object can be determined by how much a buyer is willing to pay for it. Of course, this historic sword was, in many ways, priceless as a piece of California history. This kind of “mano a mano” bidding can only happen in a live venue.

Pope Valley should provide the same kind of energy for buyers. With fresh items that haven’t been seen for a century, there will be surprises, bargains and fabulous finds for folks who make the scenic trip to spend the day with us engaged in the time-honored tradition of a live auction!

Follow the map to the Pope Valley Store at 5875 Pope Valley Road. Scope out your favorites at the 8 to 10 a.m. preview with auction action starting at 10 until the last gavel falls. Bring your lawn chair, packing materials, a check book or cash and be prepared for an experience to be remembered.