Family-run Abell looks back on lots of history in 100-year existence.
By Olga Grigoryants
Monday, February 8, 2016
After paying $100,000 for a painting, a customer at Abell Auction Co. was too cheap to pay the delivery fee and drove off toward the freeway with the valuable piece strapped to his car roof.
Luckily he and his purchase got home safely. But it still provided one of many memorable incidents experienced over the years by the family-operated business in Commerce, which will mark its 100th anniversary this month.
The auction house has become a local landmark – going and going and not gone –while winning a customer base by selling eclectic antiques and classic Hollywood memorabilia along with elegant furniture and fine art.
“Everything they have is beautiful and you can always find something irresistible,” said longtime customer Delio Moreno, 83, who has filled his West Covina home with more than a thousand items from Abell.
Founded in 1916 by Russian emigrant Abraham Abell, it is now run by the founder’s nephew, Don Schireson.
“We’re the old school of business,” Schireson said. “We know our customers by name and we treat people right.”
In the coming days, he will be treating family, friends, staff and clients to a small but heartfelt anniversary celebration.
“We’re not going to do any big dinner with huge fanfare, just a quiet breakfast together,” said Schireson, whose auction house has also had other things to celebrate recently – including selling a$1 million collection of fine jewelry.
Joining the anniversary party will be the longest serving of the company’s more than 20 employees, Ruth Weinberg. She joined in 1943 as a secretary and now, at 93, still goes into the office once a week to answer phones and talk with bidders.