Voyage LA: Meet Todd Schireson of Abell Auction Company | Abell Auction Company

Voyage LA: Meet Todd Schireson of Abell Auction Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Todd Schireson.

Todd, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Abell Auction Company has been in Los Angeles since 1916, and I am the third generation in my family to work for the company. We were the first building burned down in the 1992 West Adams Rodney King Riots and moved to the City of Commerce soon after. I began working at Abell shortly after college, and I am now the Vice President of the company. I run the day-to-day operations, as well as appraise merchandise in the field. My daily routine involves driving around Los Angeles and giving fair market value appraisals on antiques and fine art. I have gone into abandoned estates and found Picasso Madoura pottery, met with politicians about antiques, and discussed business with famous Hollywood celebrities. It is the unexpected nature of this job that makes it so intriguing.

Abell Auction Company is an incredibly unique business that has become an integral part of the Los Angeles community. We are a key partner for Trust and Estate attorneys, bankers, and executors of private estates in need of personal property sales. Our weekly Thursday auctions make us one of the last true weekly auction houses in the country, which allows us to provide a constant influx of quality appointments to dealers, designers, decorators and private persons. We have continued to keep Abell a family business, but have grown internationally recognized and continue to grow daily. In addition to our weekly auctions, we also hold Fine Art Auctions quarterly and Luxury Goods Auctions. Please look at our website to discover more about ways of buying and selling.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There are always bumps in the road while transitioning to a new generation taking over the business, but we are unique in that Abell’s runs like a well-oiled machine.

My job is to help bring our early 20th century business into the 21st century. The older generation is unfamiliar with social media, online auctions and online marketing, and I see this as the future for our growth. The toughest obstacle is getting a younger generation interested in the live auction market. We truly are a fun and amazing resource for Millennial’s and Generation X-er’s, but it’s reaching that audience in new forms of marketing that remains a challenge.

Please tell us about Abell Auction Company.
We are a true auction house. We sell everything through a podium, and I myself am one of the auctioneers. We actively go out looking for merchandise and send our trucks all over the western United States to pick up goods. At 101 years old, we are proud to be one of the longest family run auction houses, and among the oldest businesses in Los Angeles. We have continued to run the business in a similar fashion to how things started here, while using technology to our advantage. I am most proud of the fact that we have a small business, family feel, yet we are able to have a global big business presence in the marketplace. There are many things that set us apart. We have the ability to sell half a million dollar paintings as well as deal with the other lesser valuable contents in a home. For this reason, we are a major resource for executors and trust attorneys dealing with large estates. We are happy to come out and meet with clients at no expense to discuss prices and options moving forward. When people are left with an estate, they are in need of a helping hand, and we are a fantastic resource. Our website goes into more detail of all the services we provide.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I could go back to school, I would have taken more art history courses and studied the arts a little closer instead of strictly business/economics classes. I also learned that world travel and experience is the best way to gain knowledge especially for developing an eye in this field. Going to museums and seeing art up close and in person is the best way to learn. Continuing to educate yourself in this vast world of antiques and fine art is extremely important. Also, the auction business is a crazy up and down business and the best way to gain success is to know your customer base and their aesthetic.

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