After 104 years, LA’s Abell Auction goes online-only during pandemic

Abell Auction

Abell Auction’s CEO Don Schireson (right) presides over one of the company’s popular weekly auctions. At left: Abell Auction’s VP Business Development Joe Baratta. Image courtesy of Abell Auction Co.


LOS ANGELES – Abell Auction Co., Los Angeles’ original and 104-year-old auction house, has announced its transition to a live online-only auction format in April 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is temporarily closing its gallery doors to in-person buyers and utilizing online bidding to honor its commitment to keeping every employee on payroll during California’s stay-at-home order.

Abell will host a general auction on Thursday, April 16 that consists of approximately 200 items from premier Southern California estates. On April 28, the company will conduct a spring luxury auction of vintage jewelry and clothing, fine glassware, sterling appointments, professional photography equipment, a large collection of Chanel and Judith Leiber handbags, Louis Vuitton luggage, and fashion and accessories by Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Yves St. Laurent, Hermes and more. Prior to both auctions, buyers may view the auction catalog online via LiveAuctioneers or request a virtual preview of featured items via a private video conference with an Abell auctioneer.

Prior to the current health crisis, Abell was distinguished as one of the only remaining auction houses in the nation to host live weekly auctions, drawing up to 300 in-person buyers to its gallery every Thursday. Having survived the Spanish flu epidemic, World Wars I and II, and even the Great Depression, it was forced to close only once before in company history. After being destroyed by fire during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Abell ceased operations and reopened for business just three weeks later at its current location in Commerce, east of downtown Los Angeles. The auction house currently employs 27 staff, ranging from warehouse workers and office personnel to appraisers and translators.

“Abell is transitioning its business model during this unprecedented crisis to save jobs, offer consumers online luxury shopping options and fulfill our commitments to consignors,” said company CEO Don Schireson. “Our key staff is handling essential business operations remotely and will be accepting absentee bids via telephone, as well as utilizing the bidding platform for Internet [bidding]. During this difficult time, Abell is pleased to offer the community a way to purchase a stunning array of vintage and designer goods from the safety and comfort of home.”

Schireson continued: “We are proud to implement changes that will keep every member of our Abell team employed during this crisis, even while they’re staying at home with their families. Through the years, our company has endured many unforeseeable challenges and emerged with strength and resilience. We are committed to continuing this strong legacy, reopening for business in the future and continuing to provide buyers and sellers the high level of service, trust and integrity synonymous with the Abell name.”

Previews for both the April 16 and April 28 auction will appear soon on Auction Central News.

About Abell Auction Co.
In 1916, company founder A.N. Abell established Abell Auction Co. as Los Angeles’ first permanent auction house that would serve generations of loyal clients to come. Abell has been entrusted with fine estates and collections for over a century, handling the treasured belongings of many high-profile clients and legendary figures in Hollywood. Now in its fourth generation of continuous family operation, Abell’s weekly and quarterly sales attract an international audience of buyers. To contact Abell Auction, call 323-724-8102. Online: