History of Kimball Sterling Auctioneer and Appraiser
Kimball M. Sterling, Inc. was founded and is owned by Kimball and Victoria Sterling, time and again, they have laid solid claim to world-wide attention and renown with antique cane auctions, outsider art, fine antiques and with eight employees, an international client base of over 24,000, including many celebrities, antique cane collectors and conducting more than 30 auctions per year on their schedule. Kimball M. Sterling works with a network of auction companies throughout the world and through reciprocity can arrange an auction anywhere. The antique cane field has reached worldwide attention.
Sterling credits diversity as the key to his company's phenomenal growth. "We do it all." he says, and that is exactly what he means. Sterling, Inc. has literally sold everything from kitchen sinks for $1.00 to the only Pulitzer Prize ever sold at auction. Sterling, Inc. has sold many unique items over the years including Malcolm X's manuscript and Jean-Léon Gérôme's oil on canvas Le Fin de la Séannce pour Omphales, a treasure long believed lost to the world, and known only by a photogravure that remained. He has conducted sales of antique canes. The antique cane division conducts two to three antique cane auctions a year with world class cane buyers and cane collectors. We handle one cane or an entire collection of antique canes. Cane collectors from throughout the world buy and sell canes with us.
Placing a valuable, one-of-a-kind, or otherwise unique item at auction is always a matter of faith, and Sterling, Inc. has a rare talent for justifying that faith. The Alex Haley estate was scheduled to be sold for $50,000 -- and then Sterling, Inc. entered the picture -- the estate sold at auction over a three day period for a approximately $880,000. Jean-Leon Gerome's oil on canvas Le Fin de la Seance pour Omphale, had a estimated sale price of $180,000. In less than two minutes, during an auction attended by over 100 in-house bidders and 38 phone bidders from all over the world -- Sterling sold the painting for $363,000. Billed as "A Very Private Collection," the day's total for the 306 pieces came to $932,000 -- nearly a quarter of million dollars over the pre-sale estimates!
Before the Haley auction, Sterling, Inc., was well known in the fields of antique cars, jukeboxes and memorabilia, after the Haley auction they became well known in the field of outsider art, and are now considered the premier auction house in America in that particular field. Folk and Appalachian art are two other fields where Sterling, Inc. is considered a leader. Sterling's grand success with the Very Private Collection has, of course, only increased his stature in the art world. Also canes are a specialty of Sterling's. He offers free appraisals on antique canes. Sterling is considered one of the top three cane auctioneers in the world.
Sterling was a pioneer in the field of outsider art. He conducted one of the first all outsider art auctions in the world "The Howard Smith Collection". Mr. Sterling has sold to date more pieces of outsider art than any auction company in the world and is considerd the premier auction gallery in the world of Southern folk- outsider art. Many people
have tried to match Kimball M Sterling's ability in this field, but none have come close. He is an expert in the market of outsider art and will match any of the want-a-b's in the market. He was instructed in selling two of the major pioneer collections. Those being the "Baking in the Sun Collection" of Warren and Sylvia Lowe and the collection of Romona Lampel's " Oh Appalachia".
Kimball also credits a highly knowledgeable, informed and efficient staff, personalized service, and computerization in his company's success -- and takes particular pride in the level of personalized service. In order to better serve his clients, Sterling keeps a computerized data base listing client's collecting preferences, and items of special interest to them. Acquired items are cross checked, and the client informed and forwarded a photograph. Before a large auction Sterling and his staff will spend literally hundreds of hours on the phones with various clients to make certain that the upcoming sale receives the greatest possible amount of favorable attention.
Acting in the client's best interest is second nature to Kimball M. Sterling, and therefore he takes no unnecessary risks -- if he is not certain about a particular item or field of merchandise, he calls in an expert who is certain, to either educate Sterling himself, or sell the item for him, because; as Sterling puts it, "You can't get top dollar for something if you don't know what you're selling."
We invite you to call next time you wish to sell one item, an entire estate, or a collection. Talk is free and is always a road in the right direction.
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