The firm of Pook & Pook Inc. was founded in 1984 by Ronald and Debra Pook. Located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, approximately thirty-five minutes west of Philadelphia, Pook & Pook’s offices reside in an old stone inn built in 1761. The auction company grew out of the Pook’s antique business, which they had started a decade earlier in the same location. Right from the start, the auctions at Pook & Pook were a draw for major museums, estate representatives and serious collectors.
When Pook & Pook, Inc. held its first auction in 1984, it grossed $125,000, a respectable amount for a brand new auction house run, at the time, by the Pooks and one part-time employee. By 1999 the firm had evolved many times over and broke records when a Philadelphia piecrust tea table brought 1.4 million, making Pook & Pook, Inc. the first auction house outside New York City to break the million mark on a single item. In June of that same year, Pook & Pook, Inc. held its historic William Koch sale, the largest on-site one-day auction ever held in the United States, grossing over $4.3 million.
In 2001 Debra and Ronald completed a three-year renovation of the 1761 building, which holds their offices, as well as built an adjacent state of the art auction facility. These renovations afford the buying public greater ease of access to sale items through more auctions, expanded exhibition hours, and quality lighting and display.
Successful sales and record prices have continued to receive widespread attention from the collecting public. In 2004 and 2007, the two Dr. Donald Shelley sales broke all records with a total of over $10 million achieved. This was followed by the Richard and Rosemarie Machmer sale in October of 2008, which despite economic gloom, again achieved spectacular prices that resulted in a 4.7 million total. In June of 2009, while still under the cloud of an unsettled economy, Pook & Pook sold the collection of the Master family of Robesonia, PA, descendants of the well-known Jannsen sisters, Helen and Minnie. The collection brought 2.4 million, well above the projected high estimate for this collection. (See Auction Highlights)
In the fall of 2009, Pook & Pook launched its Programs for Non-profits. While the company has always offered free informal appraisals and consignment rates as low as 0% for museums, historical societies and heritage centers, Pook & Pook expanded this program to also offer free advertising in its catalogues and free copies of past catalogues and images for research purposes.
In November of 2010, Pook & Pook sold the Cigna Collection of Firefighting and Maritime Objects from the Smithsonian Museum. The sale brought in over $600,000, over twice the projected high estimate. Drawn in by the promise of a free catalogue, firefighters from all over the state of Pennsylvania stopped in to preview the collection and attend the sale. (See Past Auction Highlights at www.pookandpook.com).
2011 brought a series of single consignor sales including the collection of J. William Warehime of Hanover, Pennsylvania, the collection of Eugene and Dorothy Elgin of East Berlin, Pennsylvania and the collection of Lester and Barbara Breininger of Robesonia, Pennsylvania. 2012 boasted the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. James Grievo as well as the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Flack.
Believing in the personal service provided to clients, Debra and Ron lead by example as they work closely on researching, photographing and handling the fine antiques offered during their high-energy auctions. Today Pook & Pook, Inc. holds up to twelve auctions a year, each of them unique. The Period Furniture and Decorative Accessories Auctions include a wonderful selection of high end antique furniture, fine art, folk art, oriental carpets and period accessories. The Decorative Arts Sales feature a range of items including furniture, art and accessories. Fun and fast paced they offer bidders the opportunity to take home unique pieces for reasonable prices. While all of Pook & Pook’s auctions include art, a wide range of artistic styles can be found at the Fine Art Sales, where twice a year the firm puts on smaller auctions that only offer fine art and sculpture. Every year since the company was first founded, Pook & Pook has also put on at least one specialty sale featuring items from a non-profit institution or a single consignor sale featuring an estate or individual collection. All of the different sales offered through Pook & Pook give both buyers and consignors a range of buying and selling opportunities.
The valuable customer and consignor base has continued to expand and now includes over 30,000 individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. Many of Pook & Pook’s customers have been attending Pook & Pook’s auctions since that first auction back in 1984. With its nationally renowned appraisal services and distinguished auctions, the firm grew to its present level with a staff of expert appraisers, auctioneers and experienced support staff. Ronald and Debra Pook, and their knowledgeable staff, have been committed to the field of antique furniture, decorative accessories and fine art now for more than thirty years. As the firm grows in their new state of the art headquarters, more and more museums, educational institutions, trust and estate representatives, and serious collectors are utilizing the various expert services offered.