AMES AUCTIONEERS GALLERY HISTORY
Ames Auctioneers established its tradition of client satisfaction in Los Angeles from its very beginnings in 1933. That was the year that Rudolph Kaiser (“RK”) Ames first opened the Ames Art Gallery on First Street and Western Avenue. In the beginning, RK purchased entire estates, including real property with the purpose of providing his clients a full-service outlet for their estates. In 1935, the gallery moved to Camden and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, establishing itself as the top auction house servicing the area. Originally from Deluth, Minnesota, RK came to Los Angeles with his loving family, which included his young son, Al. Young Al was active in the family business until the outbreak of World War II. In 1945, Major Al Ames returned home to resume his position as a full partner in the gallery.
Shortly thereafter, the business move to larger quarters once again: to 8725 Wilshire Boulevard, where it remained until 1990. 1947 was a stellar year for the 32 year old Al Ames. In addition to being a partner in a successful auction gallery, his son Jeffrey was born. Following in the family tradition, young Jeffrey at age ten sold soft drinks to the audience during the auctions. By age twelve, he was working after school and weekends unpacking items as they arrived, and “spotting” bidders during auctions. With the passing of Jeffrey’s grandfather, RK, in 1961, Jeffrey became a more integral part of the gallery assisting his father, Al. Jeffrey had the distinct pleasure of being trained by both his grandfather and his father. In 1968, by age 21, Jeffrey assumed partnership beside his father, continuing the Ames tradition. After Al’s stroke in 1973, Jeffrey assumed full responsibility of running the gallery. In the same year, Jeffrey married Elizabeth, who became his life partner and business partner. Al knew the tradition of the gallery in the able hands of his son when in 1975 Jeffrey negotiated the acquisition of the Harold Lloyd Estate on behalf of the gallery. The sale of the Lloyd estate further enhanced the strong reputation of the family business.
Since the 1940s, the gallery had represented such estates as Fanny Brice, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Coleman, Eddie Cantor, Edward G. Robinson, Cary Grant among countless others. Al remained an advisor and partner to his son until his passing in 1990. Shortly following the passing of the second generation of auctioneers, the gallery relocated to Roscoe Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley, where it remaines a strong force on the Los Angeles auction scene since 1991. Again, keeping with the tradition of major auctions, in 2003 and in 2004, they conducted the Oprah Winfrey sale.
Ames Auctioneers continues to offer the best in service, client satisfaction, and a wide array of fine arts and collectibles to be found on the west coast. The tradition continues.