Young Saugerties entrepreneur looks to follow in family’s auction tradition

Some of the wares Malone has to offer. (Sorry, the groovy spherical chair has already been sold.) (Photo by Donny Malone III)

Donny Malone III

Donny Malone III, the 25-year-old scion of the local Malone auctioneering dynasty, began renting last fall the old site of Gisiano’s on Glasco Turnpike in November to store antiques and oddities for his online sales business.

In conjunction with Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr., who owns Gisiano’s, Malone has presented the town planning board with a proposal to allow parking at the site, opening the venue an in-person auction experience.

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Costello, who bought the property two years ago as an investment, feels that Malone’s business could be financially beneficial to the community.

“I think we have a tradition of that type of activity, especially with antiques,” said Costello. “The paradigm with using the Internet is consistent with trends in retail, so I think he has some staying power.”

Malone began going on “buying trips” with his family since childhood to stock the space of his father’s venture, Saugerties Auction Services, and later, Donny Malone’s Auction Galleries. The exposure, in his words, “forced” him into the business.

“I grew up in an auction house my entire life,” said Malone. “I’m a born entrepreneur. My family is into antiques, and at 15 I was selling drums nationwide through eBay.”

He became known as “Drum Kid” for his impressive percussion collection; with his first online selling venue he ran with the name and launched www.drumkid.com, a now-defunct website where he peddled his stock of snares, drum kits, xylophones and the like.

“A guy from Modern Drummer magazine, the editor at the time, used to come over every week,” Malone recalled. “He would be like, ‘Donny, I need three cymbal stands, a few cheapo snares, a drum set and bongos.’ Of course, I had the stock at the time.”

His love for percussion is deep. While studying music and animation at SUNY Fredonia — getting degrees that he now calls “totally useless” — he studied abroad in Ghana, transcribing the music of the Dagara and Kusun people. He invented, he said, a gong mallet that was sold en masse to Steve Weiss, a large instrument distributor. Ultimately, though, his entrepreneurial side re-emerged in full force.

“I told my parents [after undergrad that] either I’m going to grad school or I’m going to help [them] out [in the family business],” he said.

Since, Malone has maintained a steady online presence, both on his website, www.donnymaloneauctions.com, and via the auction site www.liveauctioneers.com. While the Glasco Turnpike location is currently just a pickup location and storage spot, soon he hopes it will become a venue for onsite bidding.

“We haven’t been able to do much with that building so far,” said Costello. “It was available at a time where he needed a space like this, so if it works out it’ll be a permanent venue for a little while. If not we’ll have to call for an alternative use. We’re making every attempt to keep [parking] off the street so it doesn’t impact the neighborhood. He’ll have to bring his own connections in to make it functional, but that’s it — it doesn’t require dramatic alteration to accommodate his needs.”

“I’m building empires,” said Malone. “Soon the auction will be a branch of Donny Malone Enterprises, among other things.”

Upcoming online auctions will be taking place on March 18 and April 1 at liveauctioneers.com, and items can be viewed via Malone’s website.

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