At 100, Alex Cooper Auctioneers is run by the founder’s grandson

At 100, Alex Cooper Auctioneers is run by the founder’s grandson

Paul Cooper, 66, spent his Saturdays and summers in the offices of his family’s auction business, watching his father, uncles and grandfather at work. He is now a vice president of the company.

Alex Cooper Auctioneers turned 100 this year — a rare feat for a small business. Named after the founder’s grandfather, Paul Cooper, it opened in 1924 on Howard Street in Baltimore. Nearly 44 Alex Cooper has lived in Towson for many years.

About ‘In Good Company’

This is the third in a series of informal conversations with Maryland small business owners. If you or someone you know would like to participate, email reporter Bria Overs at [email protected].

Over the years, the auction house has made notable sales, including the Belvedere Hotel near Mount Vernon, the infamous Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, and a 1782 letter from President George Washington.

It remains auctioning furniture, art, antiques and real estate from its offices, under the direction of the Cooper family third and fourth generations. Alex Cooper has also expanded into Washington, D.C., and Florida, and has clients across the country and in Europe, Asia and Australia, Copper told The Baltimore Banner.

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After so many years in the business, Cooper could go through the preparations and process for an auction with his eyes closed.

The Baltimore Banner: What is the highlight of your day or what do you like most about your job?

Paul Kuiper: The most fun part is completing the transaction. You bring the buyer and seller together and both are happy with the end result.

I’m here to provide a service to people. People call me and I respond. People text me; I respond. It can be overwhelming, but I’m one of those people who works day, night, weekend, whatever.

I never take my customers and clients for granted. I am very blessed. It is a gift that I get to work with so many people, to provide a service and to have been successful all these years.

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On June 14, 2024, Alex Cooper Auctioneers will hold a gallery auction at the store’s headquarters in Towson. While only a few people will bid in person, hundreds will participate online. (Kylie Cooper/The Baltimore Banner)

The flag: What would you like people to know about your company or the auction industry?

Cooper: There are many different ways to buy and sell. People have choices and many prefer the auction route because it is relatively faster and a very transparent way of doing business.

We advertise where the prices are and we archive it. If you give me your ring to sell, you know what it’s going to get. You have that transparency.

And I have a really good relationship with my fellow auctioneers, we talk a lot about what’s going on and try to stay up to date with current events and things that affect our industry.

Baltimore is a small fishbowl, as far as I’m concerned. That’s why they sometimes call it “Smalltimore” instead of Baltimore. There are so many interrelationships between the people I work with — somebody knows somebody who knows somebody.

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It’s fun, all the similarities I find in our business. And I go back 45 years with some people in the industry, to when I first started. It’s been a lot of fun, and I hope I can keep that going for a while.

The flag: After all these years in business, what is your next big ambition?

Cooper: I’m trying to digitize as much information as possible. Right now a lot of it is paper transactions, and my next goal is to eliminate paper, basically.

Now, it’s already digital in a sense, because we use DocuSign. A lot of our transactions are done digitally, but not all of them, and that’s what I’m going to strive for.

A bronze statue of the “Arabian Horseman” will be on display at Alex Cooper Auctioneers in Towson on June 14, 2024. (Kylie Cooper/The Baltimore Banner)

The flag: As a Baltimore resident, what do you find attractive about doing business here?

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Cooper: My familiarity with Baltimore, because I grew up here, it’s just a very familiar, comfortable place to do business. I enjoy the relationships that have grown over the years and the new ones.

I want repeat customers and with them you have to give them good advice. I also do a lot of charity auction work where we volunteer our time to various charities by doing auctions on their behalf.

I have the knowledge that I have gained from many years of doing business, and it’s like giving back to the community.