Six Great Places To Experience That Live Auction Thrill For Yourselves


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An auction of modern works on paper at Los Angeles Modern Auctions. Photo courtesy of LAMA.

So you missed Krrb’s real-deal live auction with Film Biz Recycling a couple of weeks ago. Or maybe you went but were outbid for that vintage firetruck-turned-lamp that you had been lusting after. Whatever the reason, you’ve caught the auction bug and are now jonesing for more. We’re here to help, with some info on three of our favorite auction houses, plus some online spots to check out if you can’t bear to leave the comfort of your own screen.

Doyle New York

doyle new yourk auction house

Bidders vie for items from the estate of esteemed jazz performer and actress Lena Horne.

We all know about Christie’s and Sotheby’s, but New Yorkers in the know swear by William Doyle’s nearly 50 year old auction house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Famous for it’s estate sales (James Cagney, Lena Horne and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, to name a few) this venerable house hosts weekly (and sometimes more often) sales with themes ranging from “Important Estate Jewelry” to “Books, Stamps and Photographs” and everything in between.

You might walk away with a set of Japanese woodcuts, or a pair of drawings by the late couturier Yves St Laurent. Some things are pricey, others are a steal, but whatever you score, you can be assured that it is of the utmost quality as all items have been vetted by Doyle’s extremely knowledgeable team.

YSL shoes

These shoes went for 100 bucks while a new pair of YSL pumps might cost upwards of $600!

Upcoming Auctions

While there is always something happening or about to happen at Doyle New York, mark December 7 on your calenders, because Joan Crawford’s estate goes up for auction, including the Golden Globe she won for Lifetime Achievement in motion pictures. Should be pretty cool.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions

warhol shoe print

If you bring about 90 thousand dollars with you to LAMA's next auction, you might just walk away with this Warhol screenprint of shoes. And the added sparkle? Actual diamond dust. Oooooooooooh!

Into 20th Century art and design? Then Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is the place for you. Founder and director Peter Loughrey started off in the gallery biz, but switched over to the more exciting venue of the auction house in 1992. Offering up some of the best modern art and furniture available anywhere, LAMA attracts thousands of visitors both live and via telephone, making it one of today’s most vibrant places to raise your paddle.

Upcoming auctions

These sales only happen between two and four times a year, so make your plans accordingly. It just so happens that there is an auction coming up on December 11, featuring an early mixed media relief sculpture by John Chamberlin, the Warhol shoe print pictured above and ceramics from Pablo Picasso. Not your bargain basement items, for sure, but well worth checking out if you happen to be in the area.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Previewing the items up for auction (called 'lots') at Chicago's Leslie Hindman can feel almost like going to a museum. Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

They say that the “Midwest is best,” and in the case of auction houses, Chicago’s Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is definitely giving the coastal venues a run for their money. Founded in 1982, the house grew exponentially and was eventually sold to Sotheby’s (the mac daddy of auction houses) in 1997. Not one to rest on her laurels, founder Leslie Hindman decided to strike out again and, in 2003, the current incarnation of her house was born.

The venerable auction house handles all sorts of collections, from the very serious (Art Institute of Chicago) to the whimsical (the John Drury collection of A.C. Gilbert Erector Sets). There is never a dull moment as there are sales happening almost every week. And you don’t have to be in Chicago to get in on the action. Live bidding via the internet is one of Leslie Hindman’s most popular features.


This compass is up for grabs at the Fine Jewelry and TImepieces auction on December 5, so get ready to bid.

Upcoming Auctions

Mark your calenders, because December is a busy month. Fine Jewelry and Timepieces are being auctioned off on December 4 and 5. Hot on their heels (an hour after the Timepieces) comes Vintage Couture and Accessories on December 5. Fine art hits the block a few days later, with Modern and Contemporary Art on December 11 followed by Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints on December 12.

Virtual Venues

While it’s true that there is nothing to compare to the thrill of the live auction, crowded with people eagerly (or covertly) raising their paddles in a heated attempt to purchase some coveted item, the online universe is doing it’s best to replicate the fun from the comfort of your own home. And there are quite a few web based auction houses that are keeping many of us on the edge of our virtual seats. Here are a few of our favorites:


With a name that is basically synonymous with the term online auction, this is the standard against which all other web auction venues are compared. Anyone can sell and anyone can buy just about anything their hearts desire.


More like a traditional auction house, iGavel specializes in fine art, antiques and collectables that are supplied only by vetted professionals, so their quality and provenance are guaranteed. Auctions are conducted online, though there is a New York showroom, should anyone care to browse the items in a non-virtual manner.


Shop till you drop and support a great charity while you’re at it. is the first online auction site set up by a non-profit, and Goodwill stores from all across the country put up choice selections from their vast inventories for your bidding pleasure. Goodwill helps millions of people train for careers in areas like finance, health care and IT, while providing them the support services (Like English classes and childcare) they need to get ahead.

We’re Always Looking

Know any online auction venues worth celebrating? Have any favorite live auction houses you want us to know about? We are always looking for new spots to check out (and bid on) more secondhand, vintage, collectable, you name it, so give us a shout in the comments and tell us what’s up.


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