The Discovery Channel's Auction Kings premiered in 2010. The TV reality series follows the exploits of Paul Brown's Atlanta area-based Gallery 63, an auction house which offers a wide array of antiques, collectibles, dinosaur fossils, art, militaria, sports memorabilia, breweriana, American Civil War items, Coca-Cola, vintage cars and other merchandise to the top bidder.
Auction Kings has aired on the Discovery Channel since 2010. The TV reality series is set at the Atlanta area-based Gallery 63, which auctions off an array of antiques, collectibles, vintage cars, art, fossils and other merchandise.
Discovery Channel's Auction Kings Debuts in 2010
Auction Kings made its debut over the Discovery Channel on October 26, 2010, featuring a pair of half-hour episodes. The series introduced the gang at Gallery 63, located just north of the Atlanta city limits in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Owner Paul Brown heads the small Gallery 63 staff, with Cindy Shook as office manager/cataloguer, Jon Hammond as picker and Delfino Ramos as handyman/Mr. Fix It. Several auctioneers man the podium for the auction festivities.
Auction Kings cast, l-r: Paul Brown, Cindy Shook, Delfino Ramos, Jon Hammond - Discovery Channel
Auction Kings: Episode Review
A March 15, 2012, episode of Auction Kings is typical of the series. One woman commissioned Gallery 63 to auction off her collection of modern art, which included a limited edition bronze sculpture by German artist Paul Wunderlich titled "Amazon" cast in 1976. Another woman named Nicki brought in an African zebra skin drum while a guy by the name of Jeb consigned his garage-built hot rod to the auction block.
As is usually the case, owner Paul Brown, a second-generation businessman in the auction field, brought in a trio of experts to assess the items. The bronze sculpture, sporting a nice patina, was thankfully an original, appraised at $500, though Brown worried aloud that "Atlanta is not much of a modern art market." A taxidermist pronounced the African zebra skin drum as authentic, opining that they are quite common and could bring $100 at auction. As for the street hot rod, racecar expert John Rich noted some problems, including lack of windshield wipers and an iffy exhaust system and possibly illegal headers, giving it a value of around $9,000. The latter figure didn't sit very well with the owner, who was hoping his street rod would bring at least $15,000.
Auction day arrived, with a gaggle of potential buyers jamming Gallery 63's spacious digs. The Paul Wunderlich bronze was first up, bringing a top bid of $675. Next was the homemade hot rod, which went to an absentee phone bidder for $13,000, sorely disappointing the consignor. Next was the zebra skin drum, which sold for $325, delighting its former owner who had wanted at least $200 for the piece. Of course, a number of other wares were auctioned that day as well, but these three items garnered the TV cameras' main focus.
Auction Kings: Entertaining and Educational
Auction Kings provides a unique glimpse into the auction business, proving to be both entertaining and educational. Owner Paul Brown, who has a bachelor's degree in literature, apparently knows his stuff, having initially worked at his father's auction house beginning in 1989. He later purchased Gallery 63 in 2005, becoming a second-generation auction house owner. His staff is genial and capable, with resident handyman Delfino Ramos especially earning his stripes as the gallery's Mr. Fix It, repairing vintage items and thus increasing their value. "If Delfino can't fix it, no one can," is the gallery's mantra.
Auction Kings affords the viewer a behind-the-scenes look at Gallery 63's operation, encompassing acquisitions, appraisals, promotions and auctions. Of course, auction day provides the biggest entertainment, as we see how well the consigned item does on the auction block. It can get a little hairy at times, as bidding on an item could start off slow or momentarily stall, creating anxiety for both the gallery and the consignor. Once an item has been bid beyond its appraisal or what the consignor wanted, however – which is never a given by the way – it's all gravy, with a big sigh of relief coming when the auctioneer declares, "You bought it!"
Gallery 63 owner Paul Brown examines an item in Auction Kings - Discovery Channel
Auction Kings: Gallery 63's Unique Wares
Many viewers may want to tune in to Auction Kings simply because of the wide range of wares Gallery 63 offers. In the past they have included the following:
- 19th century vampire-killing kit
- 1969 Oldsmobile 442 muscle car
- vintage baseball cards
- headhunter's axe
- old Coca-Cola vending machine
- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. signed letter
- Japanese World War II samurai sword
- unopened case of Billy Beer
- Albert Einstein handwritten/signed letter
- 1930s/'40s Ouija board
- Lt. Colonel (ret.) Oliver North's Marine ceremonial sword
- Harry Houdini signed letter
- early 1900s séance machine
- Civil War soldier's iron knuckle duster excavated from a local battlefield
In a memorable September 13, 2011, episode Gallery 63 auctioned three items which caused quite a stir. One was a May 1936 first edition of Gone With the Wind which was authentically signed by author Margaret Mitchell. In rough condition and without its dust jacket, the book still managed to bring $4,750 on a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2,000.
Also featured in this episode was an ancient figural jadeite pipe which had been excavated in nearby Lithia Springs, once home of the Mounds Indians. This particular pipe had come from South America, proving that the Mounds people had conducted trade with Indians from that region. The winning bid was a bargain $3,000, which disappointed the consignor who had hoped to get $5,000.
The third item was – are you ready? – fossilized dinosaur poop, which had come from the famous Hell Creek formation in Montana. Estimated to be at least 65 million-years-old from a species unknown, the dino feces fetched a top bid of $150, delighting the Montana dinosaur diggers who had wanted at least $50. The dinosaur poop was purchased by a collector who wanted to introduce his young daughter to the fascinating world of paleontology.
Auction Kings – like a good auction itself – offers viewers a wide variety. And here's another plus: there's little to no profanity, rendering the annoying TV reality show "beepometer" nearly useless. Watch a few episodes, and you too could be calling out, "Ya bought it!"
- Paul Brown, owner of Gallery 63 in Auction Kings - Discovery Channel
Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner