The latest and greatest, the scoop and the skinny, the most wanted and not so much
  • What’s in a Name?

    What’s in a name?

    I don’t really get star-struck as I have sold many items for very prominent people in my career. However, when my phone rang on Wednesday afternoon, and I saw the name…John Baeder, I must admit, I was a little star-struck. Let me explain.

    You see, as a very young auctioneer in the early 90’s, I was asked by a friend (thank you Diane) to be the guest auctioneer for an event benefiting the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). It was called Star Doodles. I had no idea what a huge event this was. I had been to TPAC to see performances, but I had no idea the auction was going to be held onstage in Jackson Hall.

    At the time, I felt like that was the event of the season…at least for me it was. Attendees included many notable and prominent Nashvillians, artists, celebrities and music industry people. As the auctioneer, I sold “Doodles” famous people had created – sketches and small pieces of artwork. Sometimes it was simply song lyrics (like Peter Frampton) who had written lyrics along the edge of a large pottery serving charger, and sometimes it was a celebrity’s attempt at creating a small piece of art. Some of those people included Tony Bennett, Joe O’Donnell, Brenda Lee, Red Skelton, Steve Wariner and of course, JOHN BAEDER. I live-auctioned these items to attendees and everyone had so much fun! I was the auctioneer for this event until it was no longer; it had a great run of about 10 years.

    I met John Baeder at one of the Preview Parties for this event. I also sold a “Doodle” or two over the years he had donated for the event. Of course, once you see John Baeder’s art, you’ll remember his unique style from that day forward. In my 25+ years in the auction industry, I have never had the opportunity to sell another one of his pieces…until now. AND, it’s an original watercolor of the very iconic Brown’s Diner. Now, if you’re a native Nashvillian, you’ve been to Brown’s diner and you get it. It’s iconic in every sense of the word. If you’ve only heard rumors, just go. Then you’ll get it.

    Back to my phone call… I knew Christie’s in New York had just sold one his pieces this past July, and I’m sure he was wondering how my company earned the privilege of attaining a piece of his artwork. I explained to him I had been hired by a Nashville Estate to sell this piece. I told John the widow of the estate was moving to California and said her husband would have wanted this particular piece be sold in Nashville. So, John shared with me how the Brown’s Diner piece was born.

    He created the Brown’s Diner watercolor for Cumberland Gallery in 2004. It was to be included in an 
    exhibit featuring only Nashville inspired images. Referring to Brown’s Diner, Baeder said, “Although an iconic Nashville landmark, it has no ‘curb appeal’, nor an interesting diner per se. No one can tell it was once two interurban trolley cars that ended the line at Hillsboro and Blair.”

    He went on to say the image is from early June,1980 when he was first visiting Nashville. At the time, he didn’t know he was going to move here. Referring the the front façade of Brown’s Diner, Baeder said, “Trees and beer signs were still prevalent, thus making for a composition. The parked cars assisted greatly, today an impossibility.”

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a native of Nashville, or you’re a recent transplant, we have all witnessed the boom Nashville is experiencing. It’s hard sometimes, to let go of some great landmarks that are no longer visible. John Baeder probably said it best.


    “My quest has always been preservation, therefore the decision for such an important Nashville image. A simple diner, transformed into an institution, mostly due to the multitude of musicians that have frequented its glory, further making ‘Music City’ history”. 


    So what’s in a name? In this case, everything. John Baeder and Brown’s Diner go together like hamburgers and french fries.


    Photo Credit: Jim McGuire

  • Serendipity


    …The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

    In 1994, when I was a young apprentice auctioneer, I was given the opportunity to work the Iconic Conway Twitty The Legend auction held in Hendersonville, Tennessee. I was only there because I was apprenticing with the Auctioneer hired to call the bids for the auction. He knew it would be an eye-opening experience, and asked me if I would like to work the auction in the office area, helping the staff. I knew it was going to be a pretty big deal, and of course I said, “Of course.”


    If you had told me that 24 years later I’d be selling some of those items a second time around, I probably would have raised an eyebrow and tilted my head to the side. You know the pose, as if to say “Yeah, right.” You know how they say that everything comes around full circle?  Well, in the auction world, it has for me.


    I remember the auction well. It was my first high-profile auction, and I couldn’t believe the sheer number of people in attendance. It was a well choreographed event, and it seemed as though there were no details left unattended. The men working the ground, otherwise known as groundsmen, were dressed in tuxedos and white gloves. The auction took place under a huge white tent and every seat was taken. When you looked at the license plates in the parking lot, it seemed as though every tag was from out of state. And the media – well they were all there in full force. I was so impressed, and I knew it would probably be quite some time before I worked another auction like that one.


    Fast forward 24 years. I received a call from a woman who told me she was looking for an auctioneer to sell her important collection of music memorabilia. She said she lived in South Carolina, but felt is was important to sell her collection in Nashville. I asked what kind of collection she had and she said, “Well, I attended the Conway Twitty Estate auction in 1994 and purchased several items. I’m older and my health concerns me. I’d really like to see these items sell to someone who would enjoy them as much as I have all these years.” She told me she had been doing some research online and just happened to come across my website and thought she would give me a call. Did you just raise both eyebrows? I did too. Isn’t this a strange coincidence?  I choose to use the word serendipitous.

    This person had never met me, much less know anything about me. She certainly didn’t know I had worked that very memorable auction in 1994. Somehow, though, she just happened to find me! The more she told me, I was quite sure our paths had crossed at the auction. Every time she bought something the auctioneer would say, “Sold to the lady with the spotted dog.” You see, she and her husband brought their Dalmatian, Dotty, to the auction. They would occasionally take a stroll with their Dotty around the auction area.


    Some of the items purchased at that auction which are selling in the current online auction include Conway Twitty’s 1934 Martin 0-17 six-string guitar, an oil painting of the musical manuscript “Hello Darlin” signed by William Moyer, who gave it to Conway Twitty as a Birthday gift, along with a number of other music memorabilia items and stage clothes.


    Each auction item includes the original C.O.A. along with a description of the item and purchase date, and is signed by Hugh Carden and Don Garis, Co-Executors of the estate. Each C.O.A. is also signed by Conway’s wife, Dee Henry Jenkins. Copies of the receipt for each of these items are also included.


    All items will be sold to the highest bidder, regardless of price, so make plans to view this catalog at Second chances to bid on these kinds of collector’s items don’t happen often! If you were or are a Conway Twitty fan, don’t miss this opportunity to bid.

  • One Thing Leads To Another Then An Auction Is Born

    Whether it’s a fine art collection, an estate, a fine glassware collection, civil war memorabilia, model trains or even poker carousels (next month’s auction), the stories behind the stuff are as good as the stuff! While my sellers know I can’t always communicate the passion they had collecting, or how much they enjoyed the hunt, or even the sentiment attached when we sell an estate, my hope is to give them a platform worthy of selling their things.


    When I meet with a client in their home to look at items or a collection they are considering for auction, I am always amazed that after 25 years in this industry, I still see something different in every home. Most often, the conversation starts out a little guarded. I think people want to know that what they’re selling matters to someone else.


    This month’s auction features items from a local collector who has been dabbling in this since he was young, He grew up around an entire family of collectors. It’s just second nature to him. He collects Tennessee pieces, early artwork and unique odds and ends. He wasn’t really thinking of selling anything until he decided to update the paint on the interior of his home.

    Of course, he had to take down all of his hanging artwork from the walls, so he decided it was time to re-work his current artwork collection and make room for some of his newer acquisitions. Then, as he was moving furniture around so the painters could paint, he also decided it was time to introduce some of his new antique furniture purchases and sell some other pieces. A current client (always the best referral source) suggested he call me, so I was lucky enough to get the call.


    We were thrilled to visit with him and his dog Brody at his very historic home. We absolutely marveled at all of the interesting items in his home and I kept thinking to myself “I love my job” because I get to peek behind the curtain. We walked around and he graciously showed us the items in his home collection he was particularly proud of, then showed us the items he wanted to sell. Viola, our next auction was born.


    So, this month’s auction includes items from this collector as well as other consignors. We are selling nice early framed artwork, antique furniture including Empire, Victorian and Lillian Russell, crocks, copper and metal pieces, a tilt-top table and even some nice porcelain. We also have a Man Ray Mirror and from another seller we are selling a 2014 Massimo 600 Utility Vehicle!


    We’re excited about this online auction and we hope you can join us! Public inspection is on Tuesday, May 15th from 10 to 3 and the auction will close on Wednesday, May 16th starting at 2pm.

  • A Day in the Life; You Just Never Know What You’ll Find

    As an auctioneer, you never know who’s going to call with something to sell. Sometimes, your network can be your best source of referrals. The phone may ring one day and before you know it, you’re in a small town with a town full of stuff.


    That’s kind of what happened with this auction. Although the phone didn’t ring, I simply got a text message from a colleague who said “I have an antique auction if you’re interested”. Those who know me, know I LOVE good stuff! For most auctioneers, it’s challenging to conduct an auction of only personal property that includes just glassware. That’s why I have a warehouse.

    For me, it’s just as exciting to fill up my warehouse with different inventories each auction. I find I can help more people who may only have a few things to sell. I can consolidate sellers and compliment one inventory with another. This month, I have a lifetime collection of glassware and artwork from Arthur Timpani of Los Osos, California. I am selling the remaining inventory for his heirs.


    Let me tell you a little about Arthur Timpani. He was a Navy Veteran of World War II. After the war, he went to college in Chicago and lived in the Chicago area until the late 50’s when he landed a job at NBC Television in Burbank, California. As a business manager for the station, he actually wrote paychecks to many celebrities including John Wayne. He even had the opportunity to meet Walt Disney. When he retired, he moved to Los Osos, which is on the coast in central California. He volunteered in the local museum and over the years amassed quite a collection of fine glassware and artwork.


    He passed away in 2009 and his heirs traveled to California, packed up everything and moved it back home with them, which happens to be a small town in Sumner County here in Middle Tennessee with a population of 288, according to a 2010 census. Finally, in 2018, I got the call/via text message!


    Alli (my apprentice auctioneer) and I took off heading north for a beautiful drive to Bethpage, Tennessee, which is an unincorporated community in Sumner County. When we turned off of the main highway, we headed down the road passing old farmhouses with big dogs laying in the yards and creeks flowing gently in the back. Then, we came to the little red church that was built in 1945.

    We both got out of the car not quite knowing what to expect. We were greeted in the front by one of the heirs who opened the doors to the church and seemed to watch our faces. Well, I think we both thought, “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this much glassware in one place, much less in a church”. All of these thousands of items were neatly displayed in this quaint little church with beautifully framed artwork displayed on pews and glassware categorized and displayed on shelving they had set up everywhere. They had sold things over the past several years, holding weekend estate sales there, but they had so much, they said it felt like they had not made a dent.


    I think it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, we were both thrilled and terrified all at the same time. Alli and I appreciate the “stuff”; but how much was too much? We decided to take most everything because for the most part it was all good. And after all, as auctioneers, we try to solve problems for people but we all have to make money in the process. A very wise mentor once told me “If I can’t leave you any better than I found you, thenI’m not doing a good job“.


    I hope you will be as thrilled as I am with this important collection of glassware and artwork. The prep work for this auction has been challenging, but I think you’ll find there are things in this auction that you won’t find at your local yard sale.


    This auction is open now and will close on April 11th, 2018.

  • Paul Harmon: The Story So Far

    By Joshua Daniel Fisher




    A couple weeks ago, I sat down with Paul Harmon in his home studio in Brentwood, Tennessee. The room was well lit with rows of windows and vaulted ceilings. Canvases stacked four or five deep against the walls. We took our seats on two overstuffed sofas in front of a large brick fireplace, facing each other over a tidy coffee table.



    You’ve been a prolific artist your entire life, and looking around this room, it’s apparent that you have not eased up at all. What drove you to be an artist in the first place, and what drives you to continue to create new pieces?


  • In All My Years…

    Those who know me have heard me say time and time again, “It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been an auctioMarietta, Georgianeer, it seems I always have the opportunity to sell something I’ve never sold before. I love my job!”


    I am preparing for a live auction event scheduled for October 13, 2016, and I can truly say, this time,


    “I can’t imagine that I would ever have the opportunity to sell something as historic as an 1861, six-pounder Tredegar cannon, which is the only bronze Confederate North Carolina surcharged cannon in private hands.”


    Also, it has been confirmed in an email from Val Forgett, III dated August 29, 2016; this cannon did appear in the epic movie Gods & Generals. There is a lot of interesting information about the cannon and we have included it on our website. Please take a few minutes to read the history associated with this cannon.


    William Leigh

    I was in Marietta, Georgia in August at the Southeastern Civil War Show to promote this auction and garner some interest. I must say, between the vendors at the show and the attendees, I don’t believe I’ve ever met such a nice group of people dedicated to preserving the history of the Civil War. People were there from as far away as Maryland and Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Among some of the people I met, I’d like to tell you about two people in particular, Raymond and Corrine Smutko.


    While I was taking a break from my booth, passing out literature to the vendors about this upcoming auction, I was drawn to one of the vendors who was wearing a Tredegar Foundry t-shirt. You see, the cannon we’re selling in the auction is from the Tredegar Foundry, so naturally I was drawn to his display. While I was telling him about the auction, I heard someone say, “You’re talking to the wrong guy”. I continued to tell the vendor about the auction and I heard someone say again, “You’re talking to the wrong guy”. I turned around and introduced myself to the woman, who was, by this time pointing to her husband. They introduced themselves as Ray and Corrine Smutko, friends of the late Val Forgett, Jr., who purchased this cannon in 1980 at the Spaulding family auction in Cooperstown, New York.


    Ray Smutko

    Ray said, “ Val and I were best friends and I remember that cannon you’re selling being on Val’s property. My kids used to play on that cannon.” I know…what are the chances? After I picked up my jaw from my chest, I quickly asked if they could spend a few minutes with me in my booth for a conversation. I’m sure they were just as surprised to see a picture of that cannon as I was surprised to meet someone who had actually known about, and was a part of this cannon’s unique history.


    Ray told me some wildly entertaining stories about he and Val. You see Val Forgett, Jr. founded the Navy Arms Company, Inc. in 1956 and is internationally recognized as the “Father of the modern replica firearms business”. Ray told me he and Val were both members of the North/South Skirmish Association, which is still active today and promotes the shooting of Civil War firearms and encourages the preservation of Civil War materials.  Whenever there was a skirmish, all of the teams participating were allowed to actually camp on the property. The two families would always pitch a tent and camp together; then with a laugh Ray said, “Until Val’s business started to prosper and Val started camping in his motor-home!”


    Ray said he has fond memories of Val and their time together in their younger days. Val’s property was a playground of military equipment and parts as he was always working on a project. Ray said, “Val was also a very generous man, and his success never clouded our friendship”. Their children grew up together and the Smutkos even attended the wedding of his son, Val III.

    Ray Smutko

    In my conversation with the Smutkos, I was trying to find out a little more about Ray, as I could tell he just wanted to talk about Val. Ray’s wife, Corrine, finally cut in and said to me, “You can see Ray in the movie Gods and Generals as an extra,” then continued “As long as you don’t blink”.


    It’s funny how you can sometimes just be in the right place at the right time…you know, when the stars and moon align. In all my years in the auction industry, I could not have imagined a more serendipitous moment!

  • 2006 Grammy Swag Bag Nabs Rare Bob Dylan Portfolio Collection

    DSC_5397fullcropwm“I had never won anything in my life,” is what my client said when we were discussing the item she was considering for auction. She said she had attended the Grammy’s on multiple occasions and was always excited about the swag bags given to attendees at the after-parties.


    At the after-party in 2006, she said there was a CD in the swag bag, which featured some of the Grammy nominated songs that year. When she opened the CD, there was a number inside. She asked some colleagues what the number referred to, and they told her she had won the corresponding prize matching her number. There were only 10 prizes that year. Her prize – a Portfolio entitled “Bob Dylan: Unscripted” by Douglas R. Gilbert.


    What she didn’t realize at the time was the rarity of this silk spun Portfolio, which contained ten photographer signed silver gelatin prints depicting a young Bob Dylan in 1964. She had an early morning flight to catch the next day so she had the hotel make a box for her. She put the portfolio in the hand-made box and carried it on the plane with her. Ten years later, she has decided to let someone else enjoy the collection.



    My company, Baldini Auction Company, LLC, has been commissioned to sell this very rare edition one of only fifteen ever made silk spun portfolio. This portfolio is being offered in our online auction, which opens June 8th, 2016 and ends June 22nd. It will sell to the highest bidder, regardless of price.


    You never know who’s going to come through the door with something interesting to sell and that’s why I love the auction industry; there’s always something new and different to sell, and we have to figure out the best way to sell it.



    I reached out to Douglas Gilbert, the photographer, and we have been in communication with each other about this unique and rare item. I asked him for an Artist’s Statement and in an email from Mr. Gilbert, he spoke about how he came to meet Bob Dylan and photograph this portfolio collection.


    Gilbert said he first heard of Dylan in 1963, while visiting with friends in New York City. After graduating from college, he went to work for LOOK Magazine. Encouraged by the staff to submit story ideas, Gilbert proposed a story about Bob Dylan, who, at the time, was a rising star in folk music. The magazine agreed and sooDSC_5353fullcropwmn Gilbert was on his way to Woodstock, New York to do a story focusing on Dylan’s offstage life with friends and his more private times. Gilbert said, “Several weeks later, when the story was completed, the editors met to look at the work and killed the story. ‘Too scruffy for a family magazine’ I was told.”


    LOOK Magazine went out of business in the early 70’s and photographers were notified they could retrieve their negatives for a period of time before everything was sent to the Library of Congress. Gilbert was able to get the Dylan story, but was under the impression he didn’t own the copyrights to the photographs. Then, in 2005, while he was visiting with a former staff photographer, Gilbert learned that he did in fact own the copyright to all of the work he had done for LOOK Magazine, including the Dylan material. In 2006, shortly after a major show of his work in Los Angeles, the work becameAV3_3975 a book, “Forever Young:  Photographs of Bob Dylan 1964”.  Dave Marsh wrote the text.


    In reference to the portfolio available in this auction, Gilbert explained, “We decided to offer a limited edition of a select group of photographs in a specially designed box and offer it for sale. Fifteen copies of the ten photographs selected were printed and matted for the box set. Print size is slightly smaller than 11 x 14 inch prints and will keep the fifteen printed unique.  These particular prints were chosen because I felt they were representative of the kinds of activities and home life that are in the complete exhibition.” Each image is photographer signed and numbered.


    It’s not very often you have the opportunity to sell something as iconic as this Portfolio, and we are excited to be able to offer this at auction here in Music City. Go to to view the auction and to learn more about Douglas R. Gilbert, visit

  • Jim Marvin, the Man Behind the Sparkle

    I’m always boasting about the interesting people and clients I have the opportunity to meet and work with in the auction industry, and this month I would like to tell you a little about my newest client and very interesting man, Jim Marvin.


    Jim Marvin, of Jim Marvin Enterprises Ltd., Inc., is president of his own holiday, floral and direct import gift company. He is the artistic creator and designer of Christmas trends extraordinaire, and considered iconic in the holiday design industry for the past 30 years. From the moment I walked in to his design center in Dickson, Tennessee, I was completely surrounded with beautiful holiday décor from the Jim Marvin Collection, and it made me feel happy! As a matter of fact, we hear people sometimes frequent the Design Center just to feel better if they’ve had a bad day. It’s such a nice ambiance! Now let me tell you more about the man behind the collection.


    Jim and the Bubble Gum Tree at the White House 2012

    Jim was invited to volunteer and design product for the White House during the 1997-2014 Christmas seasons.  He was also involved in designing floral decorations for state dinners, special parties and Queen Elizabeth’s visit. In 2012, his decorated trees spanned from the Governor’s mansion in Nashville, Tennessee, the Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock, Arkansas to the White House in Washington, D.C.


    The Jim Marvin Collection is a trademark line, which has been shown in both the national and international markets since 1980. Creation of the Jim Marvin Collection entails extensive travel to Europe, Asia, India and Japan. His ornament lines have been sold via prominent merchants including Horchow, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s and Better Homes and Gardens.


    As a member of American Institute of Floral Designers, Jim has conducted seminars in the United States and Japan on creative design methods and innovative color presentations. He has enjoyed high visibility in the international market for many years with designed products for outstanding and prestigious clients around the world with projects in Japan, Brazil, Belgium, Ireland and Hong Kong.


    Baldini Auction Company, LLC is delighted to offer, at absolute online auction, an incredible array of holiday décor, furniture, displays and quality warehouse shelving from the Jim Marvin Design Center in Dickson, Tennessee.


    Please join us for this brilliant and ornate online only auction closing on May 25th, starting at 2:00pm CT, with onsite inspection in Dickson on Tuesday, May 24th from 10:00 am to 3:00pm.

  • Oh, Now I Get It!

    I’m in the market for a “new” used car, so naturally I’m noticing all of the commercials for new cars. It’s funny because I don’t remember there being so many car commercials on television. It’s only now that I’m in the market to buy a car that I am noticing and listening to all of the commercials.


    The same is true when you finally realize you may need to sell things for any number of reasons and you’re looking for a venue to sell these things. Perhaps you’re at a stage in life where you’re trying to downsize, perhaps you have an elderly parent moving into assisted living, or perhaps you have lost a relative and you are now an Executor or Executrix needing to liquidate an estate.  Hiring an auctioneer to handle this for you may seem very foreign because you certainly don’t see a lot of commercials for auctioneers, so how do you find a qualified auctioneer? That’s where I come in.


    downloadLiquidating an entire estate can seem like a daunting task, but auctioneers are quite used to working with these situations. It’s actually what we do best! You’ve probably noticed auction signs from time to time but didn’t pay much attention unless you were in the market for hiring an auctioneer. Then, you noticed all of those signs and you also started noticing all of the other auction advertisements.


    I’m going to share a little inside information with you…there’s a strategy to putting up auction signs and it’s all about timing. We don’t like to post auction signs onsite too far out from the auction date and we don’t like to post signs too close to the auction date either. Here’s why: you will typically drive by an auction sign for a few days before you actually notice the sign. Then, you will look at that sign every single day until auction day. If an auctioneer puts that sign up too far in advance the sign will become invisible after a couple of weeks and you will stop looking. You’ll forget about the auction until you notice the sign is gone. If an auctioneer puts up the auction sign too close to the auction date, you may not feel like you have time to prepare and just think to yourself, “well never-mind”.



    So how do you hire the right Auctioneer for your particular need? Research. More than likely, you may not have even thought about hiring an auctioneer to help you with your particular “sale” need. Start with professional organizations like the Tennessee Auctioneers Association (TAA). There, you’ll find a listing of all of the members of the TAA. Or, simply ask around. Word of mouth is still the best advertising.


    42We are a professionally regulated and licensed industry, and we answer to an Auction Commission under the Department of Commerce and Insurance for the State of Tennessee. Since we are a licensed and regulated industry, we’re continually updating our education to reflect new market trends and new ways to simply be better and more efficient at what we do.


    From contract to close, a professional auctioneer can assist you with whatever you are selling, whether it’s real estate, personal property or business equipment. There are also many different auction sales platforms to consider; live, online only and even simulcast auctions. There is a huge buying market nationwide, and marketing your assets to the right buyer group is vital.


    So, the next time you have something to sell, or know of someone who is handling an estate or real estate and needs to sell, think of hiring a professional auctioneer. It’s probably going to be the best decision you make. Now do you get it?

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