Harvey Clars Auction Gallery got its start in the auction business in 1948 with Harvey Clar. Mr. Clar grew up in Oakland. He played on a baseball team at Oakland High and at one time had considered a career in professional sports because he was an outstanding athlete. This love of sports has continued through-out his life. At both ages 60 and 65, he was the top racquetball player in the world. Even in golf, he has a very low handicap.
At the age of 18, he began conducting industrial auctions – starting with machine, wood-working, and automobile repair shops, sometimes with partners and sometimes on his own. His skill and reputation grew over the next couple decades. In addition to conducting a wide variety of commercial and industrial auctions, as well as the occasional estate filled with personal property, he developed an expertise in appraising and auctioning automobile dealerships. The major car manufacturers would utilize his services throughout the Western United States when a dealership was closing, moving, or changing ownership.
The demand for his services in appraising and auctioning personal property, such as fine art, furniture and jewelry, also continued to grow. Mr. Clar and his wife Donna established their first auction gallery in 1971 in Oakland, California, replacing an older auction house that had recently closed.
The gallery’s reputation for knowledge and experience in handling quality estate property has continued to grow over the last thirty plus years. It is now one of the largest auction houses in the Western United States and works with buyers and sellers both throughout the United States and worldwide. The majority of its clients, however, are located in Northern California. In mid-2004, the gallery began offering simultaneous internet bidding, in conjunction with the live auction, on many of its lots through eBay.
Harvey Clars Auction Gallery conducts monthly two-day estate auctions of 1500-2000 lots at its North Oakland location. Between three and five thousand people attend the auctions and previews, with many thousands more viewing the lots online.
In 1996, Harvey Clar sold the estate auction gallery business to Redge A. Martin. Mr. Martin also grew up in Oakland. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduate school, he worked for Ford Motor Company, Dole Foods, and Butterfield & Butterfield. Mr. Martin continues to be President of the Gallery, as well as being one of the main auctioneers and appraisers. Harvey Clar continues to appraise and conduct auctions of industrial and commercial property.