Pook & Pook Inc. was founded by Ronald and Debra Pook in 1984 out of the Pook’s thriving antique business, which they began a decade earlier. Located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Pook & Pook, Inc.’s offices are approximately thirty-five minutes west of Philadelphia, in an old stone inn built in 1761 with an adjacent state-of-the-art auction gallery. Right from its inception, the company’s auctions incited the interest of major museums, estate representatives, and serious collectors.
Pook & Pook, Inc.’s first sale in 1984 grossed $125,000, a respectable amount for the new auction house run by the Pooks and one part-time employee. The firm had grown significantly by 1999, when Ron Pook sold a Philadelphia piecrust tea table for $1.4 million, making Pook & Pook, Inc. the first auction house outside New York City to break the million dollar 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 at that point, grossing over $4.3 million.
Since 1984, Pook & Pook, Inc.’s superior service and impressive prices have attracted the attention of the collecting public. In 2004 and 2007, the two monumental auctions of the estate of Dr. Donald Shelley totaled over $10 million, closely followed by the Richard and Rosemarie Machmer auction in October of 2008, which realized $4.7 million.
In the fall of 2009, Pook & Pook, Inc. launched a series of programs for museums and non-profit institutions. 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 award-winning catalogs and free copies of past catalogs and images for research purposes. In response to the company’s commitment to non-profits, Pook & Pook, Inc. proudly offered the Smithsonian Institution’s Cigna Collection of Firefighting and Maritime Objects in November of 2010. Drawn by the promise of a free catalog, firefighters from all over the state of Pennsylvania stopped in to preview the collection and attend the sale.
Following such successful early years, Pook & Pook, Inc.’s customer and consignor base has continued to expand and now includes over 40,000 individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations. The firm grew to its present level of renowned appraisal services and historic auctions with the help of expert appraisers, auctioneers, and experienced support staff, and the company is constantly searching for new and innovative ways to approach the sale of personal property.
Ronald and Debra Pook and their knowledgeable staff have been committed to the fields of antique furniture, decorative accessories, and fine art for more than forty years and today, Pook & Pook, Inc. holds over twelve auctions a year. These regularly consist of three Americana auctions, two International auctions, several Decorative Arts sales, Sporting, Coin, Toy, and other specialty auctions. Each year, the company usually also offers several noteworthy single institution or consignor auction events, and has an esteemed tradition of working with some of the country’s most discerning collectors. Pook & Pook, Inc.’s auctions have also consistently maintained a 97% average sell rate, creating an optimal auction experience for buyers and sellers alike.