New residents of Braunfels can now purchase historic pieces such as Japanese dishes and rare works of art at the Lark Mason Associates auction house.
The auction house now has retail pieces that people can purchase in person or online.
Unique items vary in price and time, from books published in the 1800s to a $ 1,250 vase by a famous Venetian glass artist.
The auction house began when Asian art expert Lark Mason, an appraiser on Antique Roadshow, brought his multi-million dollar operations from New York to New Braunfels.
His son, Lark E. Mason III, takes care of marketing and operations and said the auction house had more people bidding for items on their website during the pandemic.
Some objects belong to them and others are on consignment.
“Like a phoenix coming out of COVID,” laughed Mason III. “[The retail is] completely new. We have started to do small things here and we want to do a lot more in the future. We are building slowly.
He said they had “mixed results” during the pandemic, but overall business has been good and they have sold several large items.
“We have had extremely successful sales,” said Mason III. “We have broken several record prices and sold a hundred perfect objects, which is difficult to do in the midst of COVID. This is only because we have a great team and our bidders trust us without having to see the items in person.
Mason III and his father, President / CEO Lark Mason, travel the country collecting historic and unique items. They collect everything from from millennial porcelain to mid-century modern furniture.
“New Braunfels is a great city, there’s a lot going on here and the auction doesn’t matter where we’re located. The majority of things go out of town and a lot of people who come here and love to shop take advantage of it.
Nathan Manlove, chairman of the group’s marketing agency AMMO and chairman of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce this year, said the auction house was attracting visitors from all over.
“They come to enjoy the city and do business,” Manlove said. “For me, the impact they have is that they introduce New Braunfels to visitors from all over the world. We the locals can also brag that Lark Mason lives here. And that’s pretty cool.
The Masons wanted to bring their rare eclectic finds to their new home away from New York. The German barn from the 1800s is historically significant and therefore the auction house wanted to honor it.
“With San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Dallas, we don’t really have to be in those cities, so we chose where we wanted to live,” Mason III said. “Two years ago we moved here the building that originally stood on Gruene Road and was one of the first establishments here in New Braunfels. Rather than building something super modern, we thought we should try to adapt it and add it downtown.
Items in a single auction, such as the Venetian Vase, are available until July 7, but users can also view the auction items live online.