The success of Discovery Channel’s newest breakout hit, Auction Kings, is due largely in part to the chemistry of staff of Gallery 63, including its newest employee, picker Jon Hammond. In an exclusive interview, Jon told me bluntly, “Gallery 63 changed my life.” So, how exactly did Auction Kings and the Gallery have such a huge impact to cause the picker to make such a big statement?
During our one-on-one interview, Jon Hammond was completely candid about the 180-degree change in his life. In order to make ends meet for his young family, Jon worked 12-hour shifts at a Wal-Mart distribution center for five years, but was unexpectedly laid off in the fall of 2008. So, what did this free spirit and his young wife decide to do? They sold their house, hooked up a travel trailer to their truck and decided to see America. Jon, his family and pets would pull into new cities and he would work at different jobs. However, when the economy tanked even further, the job opportunities disappeared. “I was really down and out,” Jon told me honestly. With a dwindling bank account and no job prospects in sight, Jon made the difficult decision to ask his mother-in-law if he could stay with her in Atlanta.
After getting her OK and settling his family into her home, he began scouring the want ads. For days on end, he looked for anything that could support his family. In the meantime, he helped out his mother-in-law by scooping up poop on her alpaca farm. “I’m not afraid to work,” he explained, however, nothing panned out. Until that fateful day when his wife happened to type in a different search word and came across an unusual want ad. She showed it to Jon, who immediately responded. The ad was for an auction house, but the employer did not want to receive resumes or see “buzz words” on the application letter. “I grew up around the antique world in a Southern Virginia way, so I thought I’d be good at this job.” So, Jon crafted a letter from his heart.
Within a month, Jon Hammond learned that he was on the short list for getting the job of his dreams, but he still had a few hurdles to jump. He was invited to attend and work an auction at Gallery 63. “We had to hold up items during the auction, and that sort of thing,” he told me. Jon was more determined than ever to snag the position. “I knew that more important than earning an income, I was going to love the job.”
In the end, Gallery 63 owner Paul Brown did offer the job to Jon. “I was so happy because I wanted this job really, really bad.” Jon will mark his one-year anniversary with Gallery 63 on February 10th. The interesting part is that Paul did not even inform Jon of the TV show until after he accepted the offer. “Oh, and by the way, we’re going to be on a Discovery Channel TV series,” Paul told Jon very nonchalantly.
Little did either know just how successful Auction Kings would be for Gallery 63. Despite his recent notoriety, Jon Hammond remains truly humbled and grateful to be a part of the Gallery 63 team. “I just wanted to be needed and appreciated,” Jon stated.
In the last year, Jon, his wife and their two young children have settled into a new life. They renovated Paul’s rental house and are quite content living so close to the Gallery. Fans of Auction Kings are beginning to recognize Jon from the TV show and he recently got a thumbs up from strangers while driving. However, Jon Hammond remains grounded and introspective of his opportunity of a lifetime. “I was blessed to get this job and to prove myself. I needed these people. It’s been all good.”
Yes, it has, especially for fans of Discovery Channel’s Auction Kings.
The season one finale of Auction Kings airs on Tuesday, February 1st at 10/9c on Discovery Channel. If you haven’t yet caught an episode, it’s great TV that follows the happenings of Gallery 63 and its genuinely entertaining staff, including new picker, Jon Hammond.
About Gallery 63 from Auction Kings:
If you live in the Atlanta area, you can attend a Gallery 63 auction. Below are the upcoming dates for auctions as seen on Auction Kings:
- Sunday, February 13th at 11:00 a.m.
- Thursday, February 17th at 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday, March 13th at 11:00 a.m.
- Thursday, March 17th at 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday, April 10th at 11:00 a.m.
- Thursday, April 14th at 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday, May 1st at 11:00 a.m.
- Thursday, May 5th at 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday, June 5th at 11:00 a.m.
- Thursday, June 9th at 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday, June 26th at 11:00 a.m.
- Thursday, June 30th at 4:00 p.m.
Gallery 63 is located at 4577 Roswell Rd., Atlanta GA 30342. It is usually open from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s also open for auction preview the week prior to an announced auction from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. on Monday-Saturday. For more information, call (404) 252-2555.
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