Friday, June 11, 2010
Which brings me to glassware. Tomorrow Spear Auctioneers is going to be holding their first live online auction, a first for the state of Arkansas as well, and it's going to be all glassware. Hours and hours worth of what I'm told is a magnificent collection. Tomorrow, what began as small gatherings in chicken houses and cattle ranches will be broadcast at the speed of information around the world. Don, who wears suspenders and a cowboy hat daily, who does something like 300 push-ups and sit-ups every morning, who once punched a horse when it got out of control and knocked IT to the ground, is worried to death about his voice being heard across the nation. I'll be there clerking, along with my sister-in-law and one other clerk, who sat through hours of training on Proxibid, the online auction service. Only Richard, the auctioneer and my father-in-law, seems stoically calm.
This is where we are now. Some people may still fear a world where people can hide in their dusty apartments and still collect really nice glassware, but I think this is going to go the way of everything else. I think friends will be made, I think people at home can now take part in the excitement that an auction generates, be a part of that energy even from far away, because isn't that what we do best, being people?
If you want to be friends with Spear Auctioneers, Inc. they're there on facebook. If you want to take part in the auction, to exercise that human instinct to interact with other people go to proxibid.com and look for Spear Auctioneers under auction houses. It's going to be epic.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I don't know Richard Peel very well but I've heard stories from Spear regarding, and can personally vouch for his no-nonsense approach to business (and conversation) based on my phone interview with him. He's precise, he answers questions succinctly and without hesitation, there are no "um's" and "ah's" to fill the gaps as he thinks of the right word, he's got the right word, and when the conversation is over you get the impression that he moves seamlessly on to the next activity with the same focus and intensity, as if the conversation had never taken place. I can sense immediately why he's the lead attorney at one of Russellville's most successful law firms.
Peel handles a lot of cases in which a division or liquidation of property is required. When these cases come up he always turns to Spear Auctioneers to get the most out of the property for his clients. He said that the auction method "has been wonderful."
At a Spear Auctioneers auction all clerking is done using a computer system. Buyer and seller information is recorded as the auction proceeds and is transmitted via wireless modem to the check-in/out trailer, which streamlines the process as opposed to the old "pen and paper" clerking system.
"Richard is the only auctioneer that I know of in this area with the computer clerking system which allows for immediate purchases and immediate payouts," Peel said.
The prompt service and past performance were also cited by Peel as reasons why he uses Spear Auctioneers.
"He has a large following that provides you with a ready group of prospective buyers," he added.
As for the benefit of the auction method in general, "I'm always surprised at how much property brings in relation to how much I think it's worth," he continued.
Like Peel, Spear is perfectly suited to his profession. He knows how to put on a show and make an auction not only profitable but entertaining. He's been in the business for over 20 years, which is part of the reason Peel can say that "Richard has an unequalled knowledge of the value of personal property. He can tell you how a sale should go in advance."
Many people would not think that an attorney and an auctioneer would have a whole lot in common, but their dedication to their respective professions and their commitment to their clients is commonality enough to form a strong working relationship. Of course, Spear said, smiling, "I wouldn't want Peel against me in court."
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
He was a Vietnam Veteran who received an honorable discharge.
He made muscadine wine for which he won both awards and admiration.
He was an avid deer hunter and enjoyed camping, rodeos, and chuck wagon races.
He wore a pair of boots and a cowboy hat like a uniform, everyday. "He was a real cowboy," his daughter-in-law said.
Paul played many roles in the lives of many people but never has anyone had anything bad to say about him. "Everyone loved him because he was so friendly," his daughter-in-law said. "He never met a stranger, and when you met him he made you feel like you had known him for years."
Over the years he amassed an estate reminiscent of the life he lived - boats, cars, tools, grills, hunting gear, and machinery - a life that was dedicated to the company of friends and the enjoyment of the simple things.
On October 3, 2009 his estate will be sold by auction at 10 am, and maybe Little Bit will be there too.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The house on 715 S. Commerce wasn’t always a brick, single-family home. In the 1880’s, when it’s approximated that the home was built, it was a wooden house, the gingerbread-type complete with a wrap-around porch and a row of dormitory rooms in the back. It was on a much larger lot in a much smaller and still developing Russellville.
R.L. Harkey was the original owner of the house and he had a tannery in the back for the saddle shop he owned downtown. His wife, Kate, was the daughter of R.L. Smith, one of the founders of Russellville who started the town’s hospital and fire department.
Russellville in the late 1800’s was a booming little town. Main Street was always busy with the comings-and-goings of local farmers and businessmen and housewives with their children after flour or cloth or miscellaneous sundry for that day. Henry Ford’s Model A had yet to make it’s way into the mainstream of rural America and with the horse being the most common mode of transportation R.L. Harkey’s saddle shop did very well.
In 1906 a fire swept through the downtown area, claiming Harkey’s saddle shop as one of the casualties. The day after the fire the local newspaper reported that Harkey would not be rebuilding.
In the years that followed Harkey mortgaged his property a number of times. By 1930 R.L. had died and Kate was living in the house by herself. The dormitory rooms out back which were once full of R.L.’s tannery workers were now filled with boarders. On May 28, 1935 the bank foreclosed on the house.
Nearly ten years later, on December 19, 1944, John and Eula Holbrook bought the house from the bank and moved in with their five children. The dormitory out back was eventually removed and replaced with a garage and driveway. The house was bricked in the late 1950’s and the kitchen remodeled in the 1960’s.
John opened John’s Cleaners and Laundry in 1940 and Eula started planting flowers, she was a rose and iris judge and her yard, filled with over 100 rose bushes and countless irises, was the standard by which all others were to be measured. Her daughter Linda said that she was quite the gardener. She was forever providing flowers for people’s weddings and parties, and would often “take them more than they needed,” Linda said.
Linda and Ann, John and Eula’s other daughter, remember having chickens and horses out back. As the city closed in around 715 S. Commerce the Holbrooks sold off some of the lots and, I assume, the horse if not the chickens.
Today the two story home, built in the 1880’s, owned by a prominent Russellville family, then bought by the bank during a nation of hard times, sold then to a couple who raised five children, a horse and some chickens on the property, and now sits on a corner lot of the historical district of Russellville, full of well over a century of history, a with an auction sign out front, ready for it’s fourth owner and next chapter.