Originally created 11/06/01

New York auctioneer sold on his chosen profession



Becoming an auctioneer wasn't a choice for Richard J.B. Madley; it was a calling.

"I came from a family of auctioneers," Mr. Madley said. And after 25 years in the business, he has risen to the top of the field. Mr. Madley is an auctioneer and president of Christie's East, a branch of the auction house in New York. He also is a frequent appraiser for Antiques Roadshow, a traveling antiques-appraisal show on PBS.

Mr. Madley will be the speaker at a luncheon at 11 a.m. Friday at Augusta Country Club. His topic is Have Gavel, Will Travel: Confessions of an English Auctioneer in London and New York. The luncheon is part of Historic Augusta's ninth-annual antiques show and sale Friday through Sunday at the old Richmond Academy building, 540 Telfair St.

Mr. Madley, originally from Wales, has worked in New York and London, auctioning off items ranging from gold coins to Maseratis. He got his training in London, with an emphasis on 18th-century English furniture.

Mr. Madley said Londoners take a more formal approach to antiques auctions.

"In America, it's a bit more relaxed, informal and fun," he said.

Mr. Madley finds himself looking at antiques both on and off the clock.

"It's like being a doctor," he said. "I can't go to anybody's house or cocktail party without looking at something."

But he doesn't mind. "It comes with the business," he said.

While the antiques market has changed quite a bit with the emergence of virtual auction houses such as eBay, Mr. Madley said his favorite aspect of the job remains the same.

"It's in the hunt," he said. "To make a discovery, that gives me a personal thrill."

Luncheon tickets are $30 and must be reserved today (call 724-0436). Tickets for the antiques show and sale are $7 at the door and include repeat admission for the entire weekend.

The show will feature an informal appraisal clinic Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. The cost is $5 per item or $10 for three. For tickets or more information, call Kim Overstreet at (706) 724-0436.

ANTIQUE SALE

Furniture, jewelry, art, silver, porcelain, linens and rugs from 22 East Coast vendors will be featured at Historic Augusta's ninth-annual Antiques Show and Sale, which benefits preservation projects. Here's a schedule of show hours and special events:

Show and sale: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the old Richmond Academy building, 540 Telfair St.

Black-tie Preview Party: Thursday, 7 p.m., Old Richmond Academy building, 540 Telfair St.; the cost is $75 per ticket, which includes unlimited access to the show.

Luncheon lecture: Friday, 11 a.m., Augusta Country Club. Tickets are $30 in advance.

Appraisal hours: Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to noon and 2-4:30 p.m., Sunday, 2-4 p.m.

Walking tour of Telfair Street: Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., $10 per person, includes show admission. Departs from 540 Telfair.

Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332 or lisalohr@augustachronicle.com