Hindman CEO Thomas Galbraith with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers-founder Leslie Hindman, who now serves on the Hindman board as co-chair, and Wes Cowan, who founded Cowan's Auctions in 1995 and is now vice chair of Hindman.

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The two firms will continue to operate under their separate names for the foreseeable future. The parent company will be run by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ CEO Thomas Galbraith enabling the two auction houses to share back office functions. Details of the financial arrangement and the private equity firm involved have not been disclosed.

Both founders of their respective firms will remain involved in the company. Leslie Hindman, who founded Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in 1982 in Chicago, will serve on the board as co-chair and Wes Cowan, who founded Cowan's Auctions in 1995 in Cincinnati, will become vice chair.

Galbraith joined Leslie Hindman Auctioneers last summer when the auction house sold a stake to a private equity firm to help fund expansion.

“Bold moves”

Galbraith said: “Leslie and Wes have a history of making bold moves. They've each built companies from the ground up by responding to the needs of clients… This next chapter holds that theme as we build new tools and expand our expertise.”

Hindman said: “We're thrilled to join forces with Cowan's which shares many of our core values, including our vision for a national client-centric auction house… Now we can further accelerate our vision through this combined effort.”

Cowan added: “Leslie and I have known each other for many years, so this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knows us… We decided to partner because we both recognised that the new digital landscape and growing auction customer base provides the best opportunity to realise our vision.”

The combined business employs around 150 people and each auction firm will retain current locations in: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Naples, Palm Beach, Scottsdale and St Louis for Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and Cincinnati, Cleveland and Denver for Cowan's Auctions.