January 2013 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Businesswoman and Bibliophile Takes Over PBA Galleries

On January 1, Sharon L. Gee assumed ownership of the San Francisco-based auction house, PBA Galleries. Gee, who had a successful career in corporate sales, has no prior auction house experience, but she was looking for a career change and spending some free time cataloguing books in her father-in-law's collection for an ABAA dealer when opportunity knocked. "I was also looking for something where I could use my sales and marketing skills and last year I met Roger Wagner (the previous owner of PBA) at the ABAA Book Fair in Los Angeles," she explained. "One thing led to another and nine months later, I was convinced it was something I wanted to do."

Gee plans a smooth transition for buyers and consignors, with auctions continuing every two weeks on Thursdays in San Francisco as usual. "PBA has had an impeccable reputation over the last decade, and I want to continue that going forward," she said. Her long-term goal, however, is to "broaden PBA's presence nationally." According to a press release, Southern California, where Gee is based, would be the first stop.

As for her bookish interests, Gee is an avid reader and said she collects "books that I consider my friends, which usually introduce me to authors and then other books that become my friends," such as those by Lisa See, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Gail Tsukiyama, Abraham Verghese, Sara Gruen, T.C. Boyle, Simon Winchester, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Anchee Min. With her husband she collects fine press books, as well. She has also delved into bookmaking, taking bookbinding classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book and Scripps College. 

PBA's next auction is February 7, with a focus on angling, sports & pastimes, and natural history. A sale is also scheduled for February 18, the Monday following the California Book Fair, for those staying in town.