Timeless Treasures with Wesley Beard
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Think back to when you were 5. Did you have a dream to become something, and today have fulfilled that dream? Wesley Beard can confidently answer “Yes!”
As a child, Beard would attend cattle auctions with his father. It was then that he became fascinated by what auctioneers were doing, and how and for what auctions were held. “I would sit there and be mesmerized by the auctioneer. At 5 and 6 years old, I would start practicing to do that,” Beard recalled. “There was a kindergarten paper that asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said an auctioneer!"
Since, Beard has worked towards that dream to make it come alive. At the age of 18, he was the youngest Texan to hold an auctioneer's license. Today, he is the owner of his own company, Beard Auction.
Beard Auction is a full service auction company that does estate liquidation. Beard manages and serves as an auctioneer for the Antique Auction House in Jacksonville, which holds auctions and sells to designers, home builders and individuals by appointment. His auctions are open to the public. “How we chose Jacksonville, 28 years ago, is that it is centrally located. We can pull for a 2 hour radius. We can pick up the Shreveport, Dallas, Lufkin, Nacogdoches and Henderson areas,” Beard said.
From the moment you walk into any one of his warehouses, you are instantly taken back. You truly can’t imagine how anyone could gather the amount of things Beard has gathered. Then you think about how he has been in the business for 28 years and understand exactly how Beard has accumulated all of his items. Not to mention, his passion is his job. For him, his warehouse is full of treasures. He has accumulated so much that he has multiple warehouses to hold all of the treasures he finds. Every antique or product in one of Beard’s warehouses is of importance, detail and history. Each item is hand selected by Beard and his team. Each item is created in a sense that every curve, color and size makes the item unique. Last, but not the least, each item has a historical background.
Many of Beard’s antiques, something of which sets him apart from others in the business, are from Europe. “One of our specialties is that we sell European antiques, imported from Belgium, France, England and Holland. We travel to Europe to hand select the items we offer for auction,” Beard shared. And in each item, you can see the European history.
For instance, Beard just brought back a short, antique staircase from his last trip to Europe. Think the grand staircases found at Hogwarts in Harry Potter. The staircase Beard is in possession of is a very similar look, but on a smaller scale. You can’t help but wonder where that staircase once led to a century ago. Talk about a conversation piece, to put an antique of that scale in your home. That is what Beard's treasures are. Each item is, in a way, a conversation starter, to which Beard has all the answers. He doesn’t just serve as a buyer and auctioneer, but also a history intellectual. He is able to tell you everything you need to know about all the items he picks up on his trips. But how did Beard get involved in international business?
“A lady opening an auction house in Houston in the early 1990s was in search of an auctioneer. Her daughter-in-law had heard me at an auction. She went all the way back to Houston and said, ‘I found your auctioneer doing an auction in Palestine, Texas.’ The lady called me and I started working for one of Houston’s biggest auction houses, at age 18. She did European antiques, so I made those contacts working for her,” Beard said. “We go 4 to 6 times a year, abroad, to select the items. People that come here [to the Beard Auction House] can experience traveling to Europe without going to Europe in their shopping endeavors. People travel from all over for our auctions because of its uniqueness. We are one of the largest wholesalers in the south. We have people who travel all the way from Atlanta, Georgia for our auctions.”
Besides international antiques, Beard also collects and sells local items. “We have all price points and merchandise. We sell from a house to the furnishings for a family. For example, our business is driven by the four Ds: Death, Divorce, Distress and Downsizing,” Beard said. “In the early 1990s my business started out working for children of these loved ones. From the estate aspect of it, many times we do it for the family themselves.”
Beard Auction tries to have 2-3 auctions a month, in Jacksonville. Other than selling everything from tools, households appliances, furniture and vehicles, locally in East Texas, Beard and his team travel to hold auctions. “We do side auctions where we travel within a tri-state area. Our company also offers a real estate service. We are one of the premier auction companies that auctions real estate in the Tyler and East Texas area. We’ve sold some of the bigger properties in Kilgore and Tyler, and also sold the HGTV Dream Home on Lake Tyler. We can sell everything from real estate, to furnishings and farm equipment,” Beard shared. “We also participate in the internationally known Antique Fair between Austin and Houston that happens twice a year.”
Anyone can find anything at a Beard Auction. From paintings and rugs, to doors, kitchen ware, mirrors, sculptures, bed posts and even a motorcycle, there is something for someone of any age. From old and historical to new and modern, it truly is the perfect stop on your house design trip.
Many of Beard’s items are considered antiques. They were used before, and have intricate detailing. But, Beard also collects items that are more used today in the modern, less traditional homes, which he collects from estate sales just in Texas alone. “There is contemporary, mid-century modern, and the auctions offer a flare fit for anyone’s needs. If it’s a younger generation looking for straight, cleaner lines, mid-century modern, they are sure to find that. In the estates especially, it may be brand new appliances, designer sofas or contemporary art,” Beard claimed. “At these auctions, you can find everything from a classic antique that takes you back in time, to something very modernistic that fits the current times and trends. If you travel and follow Beard's on site auctions, you might be sitting under a big oak tree, having the chance to buy tractors and farm equipment, as well as household furnishings. The next week you might be at a jewelry store in Downtown Nacogdoches. It's fun to keep up with what we have going on because if one week doesn't peak your interest, soon one of the next weeks will.”
Photos By: Poonam Patel