Abell Auction Company | 100 Years | Abell Auction Company
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Celebrating 100 Years in Los Angeles

For a century, Abell Auction Company has skillfully practiced and passionately preserved the American tradition of the public auction. Now in its fourth generation and still family-operated, it is distinguished as Southern California’s premier marketplace for fine estate furnishings, art and jewelry – drawing an international audience of buyers and sellers.

2016

Hosting a record 54 auctions per year, Abell is Southern California’s marketplace for fine estate furnishings, art and jewelry.

1992

Abell is destroyed by fire during civil unrest, but reopens for business just three weeks later at its current location east of downtown Los Angeles.

1976

Following the death of Abraham N. Abell, a new generation of family leadership continues his legacy of trust, integrity and community service.

1941

During World War II, Abell celebrates its 25th anniversary as Los Angeles’ first permanent auction house showcasing fine estate property—a tradition that continues today.

1916

Liberty Auctions relocates to the West Adams district in Los Angeles and is officially renamed A.N. Abell Company.

1908

Abraham N. Abell purchases a furniture store and transforms it into a thriving auction house called Liberty Auctions.

1907

Abraham N. Abell emigrates from Kiev, Russia to the United States and settles in California.

OUR STORY

Born in Kiev, Russia, Abraham N. Abell immigrated to the United States in 1907, settling in California. Shortly after his arrival in Los Angeles, he ventured into the business world by purchasing a furniture store from a relative. During World War I, the modest store was transformed into a thriving auction house called Liberty Auctions.

In 1916, after relocating to the West Adams area, Abell Auction Company received its current name. Catering to the trust and estate communities of Southern California, Abell was the first permanent auction house in Los Angeles showcasing fine estate property – a tradition that continues today.

On a devastating night in 1992, Abell was destroyed by fire during civil unrest. Within three weeks, it reopened for business at its current location, approximately 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Today, Abell’s weekly general and quarterly fine art and antique sales drawing a global following of in-person and online bidders. Located in the nation’s second largest market, it has successfully fused its century-old brick and mortar business model with internet sales while maintaining a key differentiator—its personal touch.

Abell’s skilled professionals are among the best, ranging from appraisers, catalogers and gemologists to translators who speak Mandarin and Cantonese to accommodate the growing Asian market. So respected is Abell’s reputation for trust, integrity and the ability to sell, that many clients and employees have stayed with the company for decades.

In today’s competitive marketplace, Abell combines the intimacy of a live auction with the global reach of internet sales. These are ingredients for success that come only once in a hundred years.

100 years in business, 300 years of experience

Abell Auction Company’s leadership team brings nearly 150 years of combined industry experience. Its three most tenured employees add another 150 years of combined experience.

These include 93-year-old Ruth Weinberg, who has worked at Abell for the past 72 years! Weinberg, a Los Angeles native, joined Abell in 1943 and still works every auction, driving herself 35 miles round-trip between her home and the gallery.

KCBS feature story »

Auctioning Los Angeles History

Abell has handled the treasured belongings of high-profile clients ranging from a former U.S. president to legendary Hollywood celebrities, such as silent screen idol Francis X. Bushman, costume designer Edith Head and “Gone with the Wind” actress Anne Rutherford, to name a few.

In 2004, Frank Sinatra’s martini-stained Steinway piano and a platter that served up steak to Cary Grant were among the items auctioned from L.A.’s famed Perino’s restaurant, the last of the legendary eateries from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Abell recently sold property belonging to Beds Meyerson, the only Jewish Miss America ever crowned; Louis Zamperini, subject of the book and film “Unbroken”; and Sam Simon, co-creator of “The Simpsons,” to benefit the Sam Simon Charitable Giving Foundation, supporting animal welfare, poverty alleviation and disaster relief.

Notable Auction Items

Not only has Abell sold the estates of actors and producers on Hollywood’s “A-list,” but of many people who were the backbone of Hollywood such as writers, set designers, and stylists like Sydney Guilaroff who created Lucille Ball’s iconic hairdo.

 

  • Gene Kelly’s Yamaha grand piano
  • Flip Wilson’s Mercedes 280SE 3.5 convertible, custom-designed Harley Davidson motorcycle and clothing from his popular television character “Geraldine”
  • Gene Autry’s Steinway grand piano on which he composed “Here Comes Santa Claus”
  • Vincent Price’s library of books
  • Loretta Young’s lifetime of correspondence with her fans, and personal and studio still photos
  • Cecil B. DeMille’s museum quality Italian Renaissance furniture, rare books and incunabula
  • Lili Damita’s trunk containing love letters to and from Erroll Flynn and 1920s-era Fortuny gowns
  • Jack Warner’s furniture by renowned designer William Haines
  • Barbara Stanwyick’s, Danny Thomas’ and Loretta Young’s fine estate furnishings

L.A. Times Hollywood auctions article »

Giving Back

Deeply committed to giving back to the community, Abell has donated its auctioneering expertise to raise over $5 million for local non-profit organizations, causes and schools.

Charities
  • Allergy and Asthma Foundation
  • American Cancer Society
  • Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Cedars-Sinai Hospital
  • Children’s Cancer Research Fund
  • City of Hope
  • Exceptional Children’s Foundation
  • Girl Scouts
  • Holy Family Church
  • Huntington Hospital
  • Jewish Big Brothers
  • KCET
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • Music Center of Los Angeles
  • Orran USA
  • Pasadena Children’s Guild
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club
  • Stop Cancer
  • Verdugo Hills Hospital
  • Wheels for Humanity
Schools
  • Alverno High School
  • American Jewish University
  • Brentwood School
  • Carlthorp School
  • College of the Desert
  • Loyola High School
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Mayfield Junior School
  • Mayfield Senior School
  • Santa Teresita School
  • St. Matthew’s School
  • St. Monica’s School
  • Verbum Dei High School
Family Photo Album

While most of Abell’s historical photos and files were destroyed by fire in 1992, a few rare images survived. These photos from past to present culminate with Abell’s 100th anniversary celebration.