Clars Auction Gallery



2015-06-26 11:23:35

Clars Auction Gallery is an auction house based in Oakland, California, specializing in a wide range of antiques, fine art and collectables.



Clars Auction began life in Gallery in 1948, when the 18-year-old Harvey Clar began conducting industrial auctions – starting with machine, wood-working, and automobile repair shops, sometimes with partners and sometimes on his own.

His skill and reputation grew over the next couple decades. In addition to conducting a wide variety of commercial and industrial auctions, as well as the occasional estate filled with personal property, he developed an expertise in appraising and auctioning automobile dealerships. The major car manufacturers would utilize his services throughout the Western United States when a dealership was closing, moving, or changing ownership.

The demand for his services in appraising and auctioning personal property, such as fine art, furniture and jewellery, also continued to grow. Mr. Clar and his wife Donna established their first auction gallery in 1971 in Oakland, California, replacing an older auction house that had recently closed.

It is now one of the largest auction houses in the Western United States and works with buyers and sellers both throughout the United States and worldwide. The majority of its clients, however, are located in Northern California. In mid-2004, the gallery began offering simultaneous internet bidding, in conjunction with the live auction, on many of its lots through eBay.

In 1996 Clar sold the business to Redge A. Martin, who continues to be President of the Gallery, as well as being one of the main auctioneers and appraisers. Harvey Clar continues to appraise and conduct auctions of industrial and commercial property.

Auctions and services

The company conducts regular monthly two-day auctions, and offer live online bidding on many of their sales.

These sales are generally organised in the following categories:

  • Fine Art (Specialists: Rick Unruh, Shannon Bonifas, Elizabeth Ottenheimer)
  • Furniture (Specialists: Deric Torres, Marcus Wardell, Ashaki Johnson)
  • Asian Decorative Arts (Specialists: Gloria Garaventa, Joyce Kwong)
  • Glass & Ceramics
  • Silver & Stone
  • Fine Jewellery (Specialists: Debbie Johansen, Lillian Roberts)
  • Special Collections
  • Rugs
  • Automobiles

In addition the company also offers free appraisals at their offices every Thursday on a first come, first served basis, along with online valuations using digital photographs. For larger collections and consignments it offers a full appraisal service, which is conducted in situ of the client’s home or business.

Auction catalogues

None currently listed

Notable sales

  • An oil on canvas by Indian Artist Jehangir Sabavala (1931 -) entitled ‘The Bangle Sellers’ (1954) sold for a record price of $164,000 in March 2006
  • An unidentified 17th century Old Master painting sold for $620,900 in February 2007
  • Tucker #1041, circa 1948, sold for $853,100 in June 2009
  • An 1893 carved jade, diamond and colour gemstone scent bottle with revolving ornaments by Tiffany & Co, sold for $225,000 in November 2010



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