John Coker to build new auction gallery in Knoxville

NEW MARKET, Tenn. — John Coker, a leading auctioneer of antiques and fine and decorative art, has confirmed his purchase of 10 wooded acres in Knoxville, Tenn., for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art auction gallery.

“It’s a plum location and has everything you could ask for right there,” Coker told Antique Trader. “It’s off two exits of I-40, less than a mile and a half apart from each other, and there are 10 motels and a restaurant in the area, all less than a mile away from where the gallery will be built.”

Coker envisions a late winter or early spring sale to launch his new auction facility. Plans for the structure will be draw up after he has had the opportunity to visit several existing auction facilities in the Northeast known for their excellence and user friendliness. “I am interested in customer comfort,” he said, “and I’m even considering heated floors, which bidders would appreciate on cold days … Believe it or not, some of the best floor plans I’ve seen so far were those of nightclubs, where there’s an elevated stage and a refreshment bar overlooking the floor. That design principle would allow people who are standing at the bar to be able to view what’s going on and bid.”

Although his original idea was for a smaller building, Coker now believes the gallery will end up being 80 feet wide by 200 feet deep, possibly with a dedicated truck drive-through. “That way the trucks can enter through one door, be unloaded, and drive back out.” Another addition Coker has in mind is a walk-in bank vault for the secure storage of consignments. “I already have the door for it.”

Coker said he is moving cautiously and doing his homework before settling on a floor plan, but adds that one thing is certain: “With this new building, I want to try to do something interesting.”