Eldred at a July 2013 sale. Jackie Sideli photo.
Robert C. Eldred Jr., CEO of Robert C. Eldred Co., the auction house in East Dennis, Massachusetts, has retired after a career of more than 45 years.
Eldred joined the firm in 1969, after serving in Vietnam and working as a sales professional for the International Silver Company. He became the president of the company in 1978, following the retirement of the company’s founder and namesake, Robert C. Eldred Sr., Bob’s father. He helped Eldred’s navigate from its humble beginnings as an estate auction firm into one of the most prominent specialized antiques and fine arts auction companies in the country.
In a statement released by the company, Eldred recalled his favorite sales. “It’s easy to pick out the big number sales that I was involved in, like discovering a Charles Willson Peale painting in a Philadelphia bank vault we sold for almost $500,000 in 1986, or the Martin Johnson Heade marsh scene we sold in 2008 for over $1,000,000. But I was always thrilled by the hunt. I felt almost the same excitement discovering a rare book in an attic; it didn’t matter if it was worth $50 or $5000, if it was something I had never seen before.
“When I look back at my career, the objects are wonderful memories, but it was all the friends and relationships I built that gave me the most satisfaction. Coming to work was never boring; there were always new discoveries and new friends to make. I always looked forward to going to work every day, and that was a great way to spend a career. I was also truly blessed to work with my wonderful wife, Mary Ann, for most of my career. I am also thrilled my two children, Josh and Sarah, have decided to return to the firm.”
Eldred will remain on the board of directors and be available for consultation when needed.
The current management team of Eldred’s remains unchanged, with Eldred’s longtime partners, John and Sue Schofield, remaining as president and treasurer; his son, Josh, as vice president; his wife, Mary Ann, as director; and Bill Bourne as assistant vice president.
“I won’t lie; it was a hard decision to finally retire, but what made it possible is that I know I am leaving things in the best possible hands. I believe we are on the cusp of explosive growth, and I look forward to watching the company flourish, knowing I helped lay the foundation.”
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Originally published in the March 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest