Curran Miller Auctioneers Adapting To a New Age of Auctions


Curran Miller image cmclr Curran Miller Auction / Realty, Inc. has been Evansville’s leading auction company for nearly 80 years. The firm was founded in 1936 by Curran Miller. A graduate of Reppert Auction School, Curran did not have the funds to pay tuition and instead wrote a letter to Fred Reppert, the founder of the school, asking him if he could pay the tuition fees back by working for Reppert after graduation. Reppert agreed and after Curran Miller repaid the debt he returned to Evansville. Though educated and financially free, he still faced tremendous odds by starting Curran Miller Auction during the Great Depression. Curran’s dedication to structuring honest and fair transactions for buyers while obtaining the highest sales prices for sellers allowed his business to succeed and flourish.  As his business grew, so did his experience, expertise, and reputation until Curran Miller Auction / Realty became known as the premier auction company in the area.  Respected by his peers, he was elected President of the Indiana Auctioneers Association.  In addition, Curran Miller was the first individual inducted into the Indiana Auctioneers Hall of Fame.

Eventually, Curran turned over control of the business to his son, Hugh Miller, who attended auction school at the age of 14.  Throughout his career, Hugh has worked tirelessly to advance the auction profession.  Hugh, who is one of the founders, considers the creation of Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI) as one of his greatest achievements. Regarded as the most prestigious designation for an auctioneer, the CAI award requires one week of schooling for three consecutive years at Indiana University in Bloomington. Hugh has also served as President of both the Indiana Auctioneers Association and the National Auctioneers Association and is a Hall of Fame inductee of both organizations. Hugh has continued to develop the business and adapt to the changing landscape of auctions in an online world. In order to spend less time in the office and more time traveling with his wife, Hugh Miller is developing a plan to transition the company to the next generation: his daughter’s Wendy Miller and Stephanie Miller-McKinney.

Wendy Miller, who attended auctioneer school five years ago, has since taken on a much larger role in the company, recently becoming the firm’s principle real estate broker. Born into the business, she learned the basics of the auctioneer chant by reciting tongue twisters (A big black bug bit a big black bear) during long car rides on family vacations. After graduating from the University of Evansville, Wendy moved to California, where she and her father founded CM Benefit Auctions, a division of Curran Miller that specializes in fund-raising auctions. During her time on the west coast, the firm had the pleasure of working with clients like the UCLA Athletic Department and the Los Angeles Opera.  The benefit auctions quickly became a passion of Wendy’s and she has traveled the country coordinating events since 1995.  Stephanie Miller-McKinney is both Secretary and Treasurer of the organization and coordinates the back office logistics.

The advent of the internet has revolutionized many industries and the auction industry has certainly been affected.  The new technology hurt many auction companies but Curran Miller Auction / Realty quickly adapted to the changing marketplace. In 2011, they joined the MarkNet Alliance, a national membership based network of auction companies. MarkNet consists of over 63 highly successful auction companies in 26 states & South Africa.   This affiliation provides many benefits for the companies under the MarkNet umbrella. MarkNet hosts websites for each company and provides the powerful online bidding platform, which combines each member’s buyer base into one large pool.  Currently, there are over 130,000 registered bidders in the system.

Wendy believes the popularity of online bidding, thanks to eBay, has changed the way the general public views the auction process in general.  “It seems as though the public’s perception of the auction industry has really shifted in the past few years,” said Wendy. “For many years, auctions, especially when they involved real estate, had a negative connotation.  If a home was offered at auction, people thought there was a problem, either with the property or the owner.  Through education & outreach, professionals in our industry have worked hard to combat that stigma and I am seeing positive results from their efforts.  Sellers have begun looking at auctions first instead of as a last resort and potential buyers don’t automatically assume the worst.”

Wendy and her sister, Stephanie, are optimistic about the future of Curran Miller Auction / Realty as the company transitions to the third generation.  In the past year alone, Wendy received two Indiana Auctioneers Association marketing awards and oversaw one of the largest, most challenging personal property auctions in the company’s history.   “The Whittington Estate contained an incredible collection of items spanning four centuries from around the world.  In that auction, we sold everything from two 18th century Samurai armors to a 9’ long polar bear rug to fine French antiques.  It took 5 months to prepare for the auction, but it was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime experience.”

Both women are extremely passionate about their work and are proud of the company’s rich history and the Miller legacy.  Over the course of eight decades and three generations, the family’s dedication to innovation and excellence has established Curran Miller Auction / Realty, Inc. as a premier home owned, home grown business.


  1. A quick question for Curran Miller Auctioneers. Did you guys have the opportunity to bid against Wilson Auctions to be the auctioneer of Roberts Stadium’s property?

Comments are closed.