The Irish auctioneer to the stars
Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Sinatra - you name 'em, Martin Nolan's sold their stuff
“They (the stars) love it because they get a sense of what real Ireland is about. No one bothers them. We don’t make any fuss,” he added.
Nolan has developed long and solid friendships with actors, movie stars and rock stars. After the business of auctioning off certain memorabilia is taken care of, friendships develop and Nolan and Julien find themselves living the high life in Hollywood.
"I'm by far the most unlikeliest person that you would ever think would be hanging out with the stars," he laughs again.
After finishing his leaving certificate in Ireland, Nolan worked for a few years in the public sector. He then took a year out to travel Australia in 1988.
Upon returning he discovered he had won a green card in the Donnelly visa program, so he packed a bag and said he'd give the land of American dreams a go.
He began his life in New York as a doorman, bellboy and front desk clerk at the Hilton Hotel and Towers in Manhattan. After a few years of luggage lifting and door holding, Nolan decided to try his hand at the stock market. It was where the money seemed to be.
During his time training as a broker he became friends with Darren Julien, a young aspiring businessman from Indiana who owned a little auction house business.
In 2005 Julian asked his Irish buddy to come on board, and Nolan agreed. He left a great job at Merrill Lynch to pursue a job that promised fun and adventure. And he certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Nolan and Julien are a force to be reckoned with. Nolan’s background in finance and Julien’s expertise in marketing makes them one of the most successful small house auctioneers in the U.S.
Prior to setting up his own business, Julien was working as an independent consultant with Sotheby’s.
“Darren’s background was in classic cars. He knew people like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld coming out of Indiana and going to California. From that he built on his celebrity network,” Nolan says.
In 2003 Julien set up his own company. When Nolan joined him in 2005 the company had two major auctions a year. This year they have eight.
"The little auction house that could"
“We are the auction house to the stars. We only do celebrity related auctions. That’s our niche and we have corned that market,” said the Roscommon man.
So how do Nolan and Julien compete with famous auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, companies that have been around for more than 300 years?
“We are the little auction house that could. We are different. We don’t have an auction house. We bring the auction to the people and this works fantastic,” he said.
After hanging up from the Irish Voice newspaper, Nolan was making sure the Marilyn Monroe memorabilia was safely packed away and ready to be shipped off to Las Vegas, where all of the pieces from the Irish exhibition and another 750 pieces, some from Marilyn, and other items belonging to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, actress Ann Miller and legendary singer Frank Sinatra will be auctioned off at the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Vegas on June 26 and 27.
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