Don Presley Auctions – Business as Usual

By Carole Deutsch, Antique Week

ORANGE, Calif. – Don Presley has been in the auction business for 47 years and 17 of them have been at his present location. The popular auction house has been a mainstay to the community but in spite of Presley’s success it seemed apparent that there would be the need for a change in venue from an on-site auction house to an online auction service due to zoning changes in the city’s regulations.

Happily, after many months of trial and effort to meet the new official restrictions, Don Presley has managed to satisfy the code requirements needed to hold on-site auctions, and in spite of previous press releases to the contrary, Don Presley is still doing business as usual. Newly installed exit signs, panic hardware, and handicap facilities have been installed at Presley’s expense, but the city council has not issued the final approval permit.

Don Presley considered a range of alternatives to deal with the problem of the code changes, including moving out of the city limits, holding the auctions in public halls or hotel rooms, and utilizing the existing facility as a preview site while offering the contents online only. Many of these considerations made their way into the mainstream public forums and it has been confusing to auction attendees dedicated to the status quo Don Presley auction. Ultimately it was decided that “there is no place like home” and Don pressed on with the intention of resolving the issues at hand in whatever way was necessary and he has succeeded.

The 7200 square foot auction house holds approximately 10 sales yearly, often to a full house as well as to a world-wide base of internet bidders who are anxious to compete for the select inventory of period American, English, and Continental antiques and collectibles from every genre of interest. Don Presley auction is renowned for their New Year’s Day Auction that has become legendary in the auction arena in Southern California. This year’s 2013 Auction sold “through the roof” and participants of the familiar auction as well as Orange residents are more than pleased that Don Presley Auction is staying in town. The yearly event is Don Presley’s “community thank you event” which provides a complimentary fully catered food court and an open bar offered to auction partakers and Orange inhabitants alike.

Don Presley commented, “We are proud of the fact that our old customers have returned, as was evidenced by the “standing room only” New Year’s Auction, particularly since so many were confused by the city ordinance conflict. Even we did not know for sure if we would be allowed to be here. Many of our clients and neighbors have appealed to the “powers that be” to allow us to continue. We are appreciated here.”

In spite of the fact that Presley has complied with the ordinance and the fact that the successful business provides jobs and income to local residents, as well as an influx of shoppers to area, the city council still has not granted a formal permit to the landmark auction house as of yet. Don Presley intends to continue with business as usual and has no intention of altering his modus operandi. Hopefully the Orange judicial hierarchy will see the wisdom in allowing a thriving business to continue to succeed in their backyard.

Don Presley’s next auction will be held in the beginning of March and will feature the prestigious estate of Bill Ashby that is characterized by Asian artifacts of monumental importance. For information visit