Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' Spring Auction
A large crowd filled the auction house's new Third Ward location.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the largest art and antiquities auction house in the Midwest, has opened a new location in the Third Ward (525 E. Chicago St.). This morning the auction house kicked off its first auction, and Leslie herself made an appearance for the bidding.
Hindman opened her auction business in Chicago in 1982, which quickly grew to include locations around the country (Denver, Col., Palm Beach, Fla., and Naples, Fla.), and just two years ago, she opened a location on Mason St., across from the Pfister. But if today's auction is any indication, the auction house fits right in with the artistically-inclined Third Ward.
Like many Third Ward buildings, the ground-floor space features high ceilings and two walls of tall windows that allow onlookers a fantastic view. Within the space are hundreds of works of art, antique furniture and all stripes of decorative home accessories.
As more bidders filed in this morning, shaking off the rain and taking their seats, a group of young women - who had been previously floating through the room - gathered behind a banquet table and took their places behind laptops. Some raised cell phones to their ears. Soon, they were all set to accept bids from online bidders as well as those over the phone. And those who were bidding remotely far outnumbered those in attendance.
But a packed house of more than 50 greeted Hindman as she stepped up to the podium, auctioneer's gavel in hand. Milwaukee has been her most successful location, she announced. And then she began to fill in the audience on the auction process - the 25 percent buyer's premium on all lots (items) sold ("I apologize for trying to make a profit," she joked), and the fact that in Milwaukee there is no sales tax on the auction lots (as opposed to Chicago, where the sales tax is 9 percent).
More than 360 people had bid on lots before the auction even started, thanks to online bidding through her website lesliehindman.com. Reflecting just how the internet has altered nearly every industry, 650 people were waiting online to bid as she was making her opening announcements. "What will the world be like when everyone is bidding online?" she asked the crowd. "Won't it be boring?"
With that, she began the bidding on Lot 1, a pair of cream-colored, Danish-style upholstered arm chairs (sold for $468.75). The most anticipated item was a self portrait of the artist Robert Koehler, pictured above. Heads craned to watch the bidding and applause commenced when the auctioneer finally pronounced "Sold!" The painting went to an in-person bidder for $18,750 - an example of the range of prices these auctions fetch.
The entire catalog from today's auction can be found here. The next auction takes place July 25.
Images courtesy of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.