Watch Clips from Season 19 of Antiques Roadshow starring iGavel Associate Seller: Brian Witherell


05/31/14: Factory-Made Dining Table, ca. 1895 from Bismarck, Hour 1


06/07/14: Field Segment: Computer History Museum

06/07/14: American Dining Table, ca. 1895 from Santa Clara, Hour 1

06/21/14: Southern Ladderback Chair, ca. 1795 from Birmingham, Hour 3

06/28/14: Wurlitzer Model P10 Jukebox from Austin, Hour 3


07/19/14: Allen & Brother Parlor Table, ca. 1870 from Albuquerque, Hour 3


08/16/14: Symphonion Music Box from Charleston, Hour 3





Witherell’s Premier Western Design Auction is highlighted in The Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Bee: Sacramento auction house puts trove of California history up for bid

“Brian Witherell has had his hand in scores of auctions over the years, but the one that started Friday is closest to his heart.

The annual “Western Design” auction through May 15 at Witherell’s auction house in Sacramento is steeped in California history and includes a diverse list of items dating back to the Gold Rush era.”

Sale Highlights | Witherell’s Summer Auctions

iGavel Auctions is proud to present Witherell’s Summer Auctions. The two part auction consists of a collection from estates and various owners throughout California and American West, and war posters and prints from the estate of Hubert Wade, a cinematographer for Hal Roach Studios. The auction is now live through August 20th. Below are some of the highlights from this auction.


Fine art highlights include a Charles Dye painting. Charles Dye (American, 1906-1972) was one of the founders of the Cowboy Artists of America and is known for his gift of storytelling in paintings. The painting depicts a cowboy lassoing a cow in the desert. It is estimated at $15,000-25,000 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid


Another highlight from the sale is a Wayne Thiebaud etching. Wayne Thiebaud (American, 1920 – ) is a renown American painter who is most associated with his pop art paintings of cakes, pastries, boots, toilets, toys and lipsticks during the sixties and the seventies. This etching, dubbed “Neighborhood Ridge” is one of his later works from 1984 and is in a very good condition in a frame. It is estimated at $3,000-5,000 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid


Jewelry highlights include an Art Deco diamond platinum ring. This platinum ring is decorated with 29 Old European cut diamonds ranging between 0.77 carats to 0.02, totaling in 1.93 carats. In addition, there are 16 French cut blue sapphires filling in the accents of the ring. It is estimated at $3,000-5,000 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid

Brian Witherell on the Antiques Roadshow

Brian Witherell with a victorian-style wicker rocking chair that iGavel Associate Seller John Nye of Nye and Company appraised for the Antiques Roadshow in Baton Rouge

Brian Witherell with a victorian-style wicker rocking chair that iGavel Associate Seller John Nye of Nye and Company appraised for the Antiques Roadshow in Baton Rouge. Photo Credit

From The

As is the case with oak trees, Scotch whisky and leather, on “Antiques Roadshow,” older usually means better.

Thousands of people filed into the Baton Rouge River Center on Saturday to participate in a daylong filming session of the popular traveling appraisal show that plans to televise three hourlong episodes from its Baton Rouge visit sometime in 2014.

Some of the day’s most valuable items included a landscape painting by Porfirio Salinas appraised for $45,000; a group of autographs from astronauts worth $35,000; and a nearly 250-year-old French sword — valued at $20,000 — that was sent across the Atlantic Ocean in 1779 for use in the American Revolutionary War.

Chris Mitchell, one of about 70 of the show’s appraisers on site, said the sword’s owner thought the sword dated back to the Civil War era, but that upon closer examination, it turned out to be much older.

“The thing that someone brings in for the show that they think is really good is usually junk,” and vice versa, Mitchell said, not insinuating that a Civil War-era sword would be junk, but that “Antiques Roadshow” offers plenty of surprises, even for people who have been appraising items for decades.

Brian Witherell, a general appraiser who has worked for the nearly 20-year-old show since its second season, said that in regard to Louisiana furniture, it’s all about history and wood type.

One particular chair that he appraised featured tapered arm rests, a Spanish moss-stuffed seat cushion and an assortment of poplar, birch and oak woods that made up the chair’s framework.

If the wood is Southern, Witherell said, the possible plantation chair could be worth up to $5,000. If not, then it might be worth only $100, he said.

Continue Reading on The


Associate Seller Brian Witherell Interviewed on Online Auctioning

Image Credit: AUTUMN PAYNE /

Brian Witherell. Image Credit: AUTUMN PAYNE /

iGavel associate seller Brian Witherell was recently interview by The Sacramento Bee on the benefits of online auctioning and how it helped him to reach larger audiences around the world. The below excerpt was taken from the article. Click here to read the full article on The Sacramento Bee website

For Witherell’s auction house in midtown Sacramento, the Internet has opened up a whole new world.


Brian Witherell said online auctions have enabled his house at 20th and C streets, along with other relatively small operators, to draw the attention of bidders all over the map.


Their quest to reach a larger audience is one of the factors that propelled online auctioneering into a multibillion-dollar business over the past 20 years. Witherell’s, a family-run company dating back to 1969, shifted its auctions entirely to online in 2002.


“Online has changed everything, not only for clients but for research and (determining) value,” said Witherell, whose firm offers both auctions and appraisals. “It’s allowed more people to become involved, no matter where they live.”


At Witherell’s spring online auction in May, the firm expected to raise $200,000, but came away with $325,000.


A Maynard Dixon painting titled “Guard of the Cornfields” went for $69,000, or nearly 40 percent more than expected; a stained-glass Tiffany “Daffodil” table lamp fetched a hefty $35,460, and a Louis Vuitton trunk found in a basement sold for nearly $5,000.


Witherell’s typically features fine art, antiques and other objects of value, but it has appraised and auctioned off items of all stripes over the years. The boutique firm occupies a tiny slice in a massive national and international online auctions pie, a market that includes everything from eBay to auto auctions to super-high-end players like Sotheby’s.


While eBay is the industry giant with millions of buyers and sellers, smaller auction houses like Witherell’s are becoming increasingly popular, touting deep expertise in art, antiques and older items. After all, you wouldn’t want to sell great-grandma’s brooch online for 50 bucks, when it might actually be worth $5,000.

Within the industry, there are subsegments – some auctions accept online bids at a live auction site with on-site bidders – but true online auctions are just that: only online bids are accepted for a specific period of time.


Industry trackers estimate current annual online auctions revenue at somewhere north of $25 billion, or about five times what it was just 10 years ago.


Some analysts say they think the $25 billion number might be conservative, given the myriad kinds of online auctions held in the United States each year. San Jose-based eBay Inc. alone reported revenue of $14 billion in 2012.


“I don’t think anyone has a handle on the true value of online auctions,” said Peter Schaub, a marketing and branding expert in New York. “The industry has grown so quickly, and how do you separate out live auctions that have online bidders?


“It could be worth billions more than current estimates.”


Witherell said his business has been growing 25 percent annually for four years running. In the industry, he’s well-known. He has been one of the featured appraisers on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” for years.


Witherell said online auctions have been on a very fast track in the United States due to a combination of generational changes and technology advances.


“We’ve seen an increasing number of aging baby boomers involved,” he said. “Tastes change, and fewer people are interested in keeping the sterling silver flatware or the furniture that’s been in the family for generations.”


Witherell’s is among a group of companies that sell online through New York-based iGavel Auctions (www.igavelauctions. com), a $25 million-a-year enterprise.


iGavel offers a platform for independent auction firms to host auctions. Specializing in fine arts, antiques and collectibles, iGavel promotes sales via social media, collectors forums and other links. Lark Mason Jr., president of iGavel, said the wildfire growth of online auction technology – driven in part by giant-volume enterprises like eBay – has made it possible for a “small auction house to remotely reach a large audience. Because of that, this dramatically increased competition for consignments.”


Witherell said his auctions typically draw bids from as far away as Florida, New York, New Mexico and Massachusetts.


Witherell’s handles many estate items and currently conducts four online auctions annually – spring, summer, winter and fall. Witherell said the company is considering adding more in the future.


Each auction lasts two weeks; the next is set for Aug. 6-20. Lots can be seen online and on-site. Commissions vary, based on the number of lots and the nature of the items up for bids, but 10 percent is the general standard.


Witherell says a good auctioneer-appraiser typically has an eye for detail, a strong grasp of U.S. and world history and a quick head for numbers.


Not surprisingly, he’s handled clients who had some eye-popping items.


That includes a seller of White House china stretching from the administrations of former presidents Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson. And he once encountered a client with “suitcases” full of old coins.


A future auction item is a chair that once graced George Washington’s Mount Vernon home in Virginia.


Asked why a prospective seller should choose his company over eBay, he smiled and said: “I would say we’re efficient … in determining value. You don’t want to make mistakes … sell something for far less because you didn’t know its value.


“People might say they know it all in this business. But believe me, you don’t know it all in this business … You have to work at it.”


Sale Highlights | Witherell’s Spring Auction

iGavel Auctions is proud to present Witherell’s Spring Auction. The auction features nearly three hundred unreserved lots from estates and various owners in California and the American West, including property from a California Museum, the family of Herbert Hoover, and the estate of Dr. Jeanne Goode. The sale is now live through May 7th. Below are some of the highlights from the sale:



The sale includes a Western painting by Maynard Dixon, which was executed in 1922 while he was traveling in Arizona. The dramatic cloud formations that his trip inspired became a signature aspect of the artist’s later works. The painting has descended through multiple generations of a prominent Northern California family. This painting is now available for bidding and estimated at $30,000-50,000. Click here to bid





Another highlight from the sale is a stained glass “Daffodil” Tiffany Studios table lamp. It is one of three Tiffany lamps from a local collection offered in the sale. The lamp bears a bronze base with sculpted and applied organic forms supporting a leaded glass shade in the daffodil pattern. This lamp is estimated at $30,000-40,000 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid




The sale also features a 20th Century Men’s Gold Rolex President Watch. This day-date watch is made out of 18k yellow gold and decorated with aftermarket diamonds around its bezel with gold linen used to dress the face of the watch. This watch is estimated at $5,000-7,000 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid


Sale Highlights | The Estate of Robert M. Soares

Witherell’s first auction of the year is a collection from the estate of Robert M. Soares. The passion Soares had for the antiques business was unmistakable. His wife Dorothy said, “Bob bought and sold antiques everyday.” It was a vocation and his collection of art and antiques represents his tireless commitment. It’s an honor to re-introduce this distinguished collection into the marketplace.


Included in the auction is a lovely gilt and silvered bronze and alabaster figure of Nature Disrobing for the Sciences with a carved lapis scarab at the bodice on marble plinth. The statue bears Suisses Freres foundry mark and signed at base. The original statue was commissioned to decorate a new medical school in Bordeaux France. It is estimated at $10,000-20,000 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid




The sale also features several European landscape paintings. Of particular interest is a painting of Lake Tahoe by the German/American painter Frederick Shafer (1839-1927). This painting is estimated at $1,000-1,500 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid



Another highlight from the sale is a pair of English sterling silver candlesticks, circa 1756. The candlesticks are molded in the style of Rococo with natural forms and curves. They are estimated at $1,200-1,500 and available for bidding now. Click here to bid


Sale Highlights – Antique Firearms from Witherell’s Auction

Henry Rifle, Serial no. 4983

A number of antique firearms with historic and aesthetic appeal are in the Witherell’s Antique Firearms, Collector Coins, Jewelry, Silver Fine & Decorative Art Auction, currently live through May 30th. These include a Henry Rifle, Serial no. 4983, a British Flintlock Blunderbuss, a Cased Large Caliber Smooth Bore Pistols with Attached Swivel Ramrods, a Winchester Model 1873 Rifle, a Ring Trigger Concealed Hammer Double Action Pepper Box, and Cased Reproduction Percussion Derringer. Continue reading