X-ray technicians at the local hospital shook their heads at their motionless patient—a mummified bird that had appeared in a lot of Egyptian artifacts set to go up for auction. After the techs confirmed that the bird was genuine, Richard "Jeff" and Amelia Jeffers, owners of Garth's Auctions, couldn't wait to put the important piece of ancient history in their catalog. Amelia Jeffers remembers that in fact, the bird did poorly at auction, as not many people collect mummified Egyptian wildlife. Instead, collectors flock to Garth's Auctions for vintage Americana, local folk art, Oriental rugs, and even real estate.
Since its opening in 1954, Garth's Auctions has appraised and sold thousands of collectibles at auction, but took on newfound enthusiasm and energy in 2006, when the husband-and-wife auctioneer team took it upon themselves to make auctions accessible to everyone. Amelia notes that first-timers should not be intimidated by the auction format, as the price range for items varies widely and auction catalogs list everything from fine art to firearms and novelty toys. She remembers recently auctioning off an antique novelty vampire-slaying kit complete with a wooden stake, garlic flour, and holy water. A large team of certified appraisers also leads scheduled walk-in appraisal days at museums across the country, and are available to appraise antiques in-house or in the ancient ziggurats where they are discovered.
Garth's Auctions has also worked to expand their environmentally-friendly endeavors such as printing catalogs with Forest Stewardship Council–approved recycled paper and replacing old company cars with fuel-efficient hybrids. However, the Jefferses believe that their most important green contribution is their day-to-day collecting and repurposing of antiques that reduce demand for new items.