Old World Auctions Celebrates 30 Years With Big Sale Old World Auctions will celebrate its 30th year in business with an auction preview and gala party on July 13-14 and an exceptional online map sale that opens July 2nd and concludes on July 18th.
News-Antique.com - May 18,2007 - OLD WORLD AUCTIONS TO CELEBRATE ITS 30th ANNIVERSARY
(Sedona, Ariz.) - Old World Auctions will celebrate its 30th year in business with an auction preview and gala party on July 13-14 and an exceptional online sale that opens July 2 and closes July 18. The festivities will be held at the firm's headquarters in Sedona, Ariz., at 2155 W. Highway 89A, Suite #206. The firm has been located in Sedona since 1994, when the current owners, Curt and Marti Griggs, bought the business.
Old World Auctions was started in 1977, originally as Old World Mail Auctions, by Tim Coss of Bethesda, Md. Mr. Coss worked for the U.S. Commerce Department for 30 years as an editor, and he and his wife, Jeannie, developed a fondness for antique maps and newspapers after seeing an old map in a local store and buying it on impulse. “I can't even tell you what map it was,” he chuckled.
Being a government employee, Mr. Coss had access to the Library of Congress, which he would visit to learn more about his new hobby. “They had a whole section dedicated to maps, and I got to know the head of the Map Services Division,” Mr. Coss recalled. “He'd let me go through their catalogs, and that's how I became familiar with values. I made sure I got put on their mailing list, too.”
Eventually, the Cosses began acquiring maps in Europe and at auction, through high-end houses like Sotheby's. Finally, they went into business, auctioning vintage maps, old newspapers and prints by mail and phone (and later fax). By 1993, Mr. Coss was ready to retire from the Commerce Department. As for Old World Mail Auctions, he wasn't quite sure what to do.
Enter Curt and Marti Griggs, a couple of antique map enthusiasts in their own right and longtime clients of the auction. They were operating a gallery that specialized in the art of cartography and historical graphics. “But Sedona is a tourist town and things can get very slow at times,” Marti pointed out. “We were discussing ways to expand the business when Old World Mail Auctions presented itself. We acted quickly to acquire it.”
The new owners quickly moved to place the auction on the nascent Internet. Initially placed online as a simple catalog listing, the site became active in 1999 when online bidding was first offered. Using in-house software developed by Curt, the site has grown in complexity, with features including bidding status, high-resolution zoomable images and dynamic certificates of authenticity.
Curt pioneered the firm's “Qwik Bid” feature that automatically places a bid in the next increment with a single check. The site relies on Microsoft technology for the database and its active pages, which currently contain over 100,000 lines of code. The hallmark of the site, not withstanding its complexity, is “the easy and logical navigation,” Marti said.
That kind of technology was unthinkable in the days Mr. Coss owned the business. Then, he prepared the catalog on an IBM