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Business

May 24, 2014

Auction house turns bidders into winners

A couple of Thursday nights a month, the rhythmic sounds of an auctioneer can be heard coming from an historic building on Main Street in Otego, where treasures are laid out on table after table, spilling over onto wall and floor space. 

“I came from Albany to hopefully get a couple of things to furnish a house,” said Beth Haas, who Thursday bid on a pair of sterling silver candle sticks with glass hurricane shades. “I am so excited to get these (because) they are sterling. There is a nice harbor scene I want too, but we will have to see what that goes for.”

There were many different people at the Hesse Galleries auction Thursday. Some were looking for treasure to take home, while others were hoping to get a good deal in order to resell the items in an antique store.

“We have gotten a little more liberal in what we sell,” said Franklin Joseph “Buzz” Hesse, owner of Hesse Galleries, Auction and Appraisals. “When I first started, I would not take anything newer than from the 1850s. But it was harder to find stuff, so we opened it up to many different types of things.”

Hesse has been interested in history for most of his life. He graduated from the State University College at Oneonta with a degree in anthropology and sociology, where he later taught while working in the museum industry. He has maintained his membership in New York State Archeological Society.

“I bought my first antique in 1955,” Hesse said. “I always find something new and interesting when I am looking at estate sales or people bring something in to the office. That is what keeps me going. You would think I have seen it all by now, but still I am amazed sometimes.”

Hesse said the most difficult aspect of the antique auction business was becoming the auctioneer.

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