On the corner of Pfennig Lane and FM 685 in Pflugerville sits a business where every item sold comes with a unique history.
“I’m sure there’s a large number of people in Pflugerville who drive by every day and say, ‘I wonder what they do over there,’” said Bob Sheehan, owner of Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers.
Gaston and Sheehan opened in Pflugerville in 1982. Sheehan said the firm auctions seized and forfeited items for government entities both local and national. The business has worked with the city of Pflugerville, the city of Austin, the Pflugerville Police Department, Travis County, the U.S. Customs Service, the IRS and the U.S. Marshals Service.
“The U.S. Marshal is probably our biggest contractor,” Sheehan said. “We have a national contract to sell all their seized jewelry, antiques, art, collectibles—those types of things.”
The firm is responsible for auctioning items seized from some notorious names, such as Bernie Madoff and Whitey Bulger. In October, Gaston and Sheehan auctioned 21 high-end luxury vehicles in Austin for the U.S. Marshals Service, some of which sold for more than $250,000 each.
When a New York art dealer named Glafira Rosales was exposed for forging an artist, the authentic paintings she owned fell into the hands of Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers.
“We brought it all from New York to Pflugerville, and we had an online auction here. We had a preview down at the fire hall in Pflugerville,” auctioneer Jason Rzepniewski said. “It was 4 [million]or 5 million dollars’ worth of art.”
Sheehan said the proceeds from the items sold in those cases go back to the U.S. Marshals Service and then go toward victims’ restitution.
“If we do well, things bring in a lot of money, and it helps the victims at the end of the day,” Sheehan said.
Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers has evolved in the 35 years since it opened. Sheehan estimates that now roughly 75 percent of auctions take place online. The company still hosts live auctions, however, and those take place all over the country.
“As long as there are crooks, we’ll be in business,” Sheehan said.
Gaston and Sheehan also offer appraisal service, and Sheehan’s wife, Michelle, is a real estate agent with properties in Pflugerville, Hutto, Round Rock and North Austin.
Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers
1701 Pfennig Lane, Pflugerville
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Closed Sat. and Sun.