Expert Advice: Freewheeling and Dealing - Home & Garden - Atlanta Magazine
 

Expert Advice: Freewheeling and Dealing

New TV show follows the antics of Gallery 63 owner Paul Brown

9/1/2010

Antique auctions attract unique characters. Eccentrics, hoarders, and quirky dealers have turned reality shows such as Pawn Stars and American Pickers into hits. So when Discovery Channel launched its own auction series, Bidder Rivals, casting took top priority. The channel found its Ty Pennington in Paul Brown, owner of Gallery 63 in Sandy Springs—who has the same rugged good looks and enthusiasm for his trade.
 
Brown’s parents own the famously outlandish Red Baron Antiques, another Sandy Springs auction house known for regularly selling extravagant lots such as a flying car, the Babe Ruth contract rumored to have started the “Curse of the Bambino,” a mechanical E.T. from the movie, and entire interiors of European churches and pubs. Brown himself garnered national headlines in 2007 when he nearly auctioned off a small collection of Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal papers, offered by an old MLK associate at WAOK radio. King’s heirs halted the sale at the last moment.
 
Television suits Brown’s personality. He is charismatic, handsome, and talkative—if a bit spastic as he leaps through the gallery, oblivious to its fragile inventory. “I operate on volume,” he explains in a single breath. “I’m not gonna make much on any individual piece, but I am gonna sell a lot of individual pieces.” Eyes darting around the room, he points to a punch bowl and adds, “I don’t have to wait until someone pays me $500 for that. I’ll sell it for $50, make $25, and get on to the next item.”
 
The show, scheduled to debut this month, highlights unique items—such as episode one’s nineteenth-century vampire-
slaying kit—and the intriguing sellers, buyers, and experts who surround them.
 
Before a monthly sale, every inch of gallery space is covered with paintings, jewelry, crystal, porcelain, relics, mirrors, and rugs. Chandeliers and fixtures hang from a lighting truss suitable for a Rolling Stones world tour—which is appropriate considering one of the band’s own snooker tables sits underneath, the iconic tongue and lip logo in Vegas-style neon on the wall above.
 
Like a Vegas casino, Gallery 63 lacks windows but keeps ample supplies of food and booze on hand, gratis for buyers. Appropriately, the environment is equally as stimulating and terrifying to a newbie.
 
Instinct says to flee the chaos before blowing the 401(k) by accident, but no worries. Although the room is loud and customers signal significant investments with the slightest of twitches, the auctioneer recognizes an intentional bid. The fear of inadvertently buying a African chieftain’s priceless throne eventually subsides, and that’s when the magic starts. The auctioneer’s rhythmic cadence changes to a hum and fades into background noise for intelligible conversation. After obtaining a bidder number from the front desk, the rube goes from terror to exhilaration with the first wave of the placard. The only challenge is deciding when to stop bidding on that row of Olympic stadium seats from Turner Field. Gallery 63, 4577 Roswell Road, 404-252-2555, gallery63.net
 
Photograph by Alana Goldstein

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  1. Tom Jones posted on 12/11/2012 05:23 AM
    Buyer Beware of Paul Brown and his Gallery 63 Auction Kings auction. After our experience today the only thing I can say is that Paul Brown is a sleazy jerk. He completely misrepresented an item during the bidding which induced us to bid on the item as well. We won the bid based on his representation of the retail value today at a store but when we got to take a closer look at the item, we discovered that the item was not even close to what was represented as it was a completely different model which sold new for 50% of our actual winning bid. We approached him immediately about this and were sure he just made an honest mistake in his representation. However, instead of admitting the misrepresentation (which was captured on camera) Paul ripped up our number and had police officer escort me and my 80 year old friend out of the building...unbelievable! He s a real pig and you obviously shouldn’t trust a word out of his mouth... More unbelievably is that we had bought several other items and were not allowed to complete any of these transactions. He’s obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed because the fees he stood to make off our purchases were more than the entire sales price of the misrepresented item...

    After doing a bit of research today, I found a ton of negative reviews about Paul Brown and his scamster auction house Gallery 63. They charge 35% commission to the seller in addition to the 15% auction premium...which is NOT industry norm and only further established Paul Brown as a complete scumbag! Paul is truly as dumb as he sounds on camera and given his off camera antics his show and his Gallery 63 won’t last much longer... His father couldn’t possibly be proud of how is son turned out!

    Again, buyers beware of Paul Brown and Gallery 63!!!
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