updated 11/03/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/03/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
David Ramus, an arts and antiques auctioneer since the age of 13, is now, at 25, vice-president of the Trosby Galleries, a respected Atlanta-based firm owned by his family. His great-grandfather got into the business auctioning jewelry on the boardwalk at Atlantic City. David was born in Palm Beach, the original home of Trosby's, and grew up surrounded by Renoirs, Chippendales, English silver and one Japanese treasure he can't forget because he was caught dripping ice cream on it. "The auction gallery was my babysitter," he says. David made his first sale—an inlaid teakwood box—when he was 8. Though a veritable Marjoe of marketing, he apprenticed mostly behind the scenes loading trucks and hanging paintings. "I didn't start out as vice-president," he notes. David traveled the world "to lose my provincialism," and enrolled at the Université de Montpellier in France to study French art. After one semester his father's partner died, and David had to return to help with the business. He is now expert enough to work as a fine arts consultant and appraiser. But Trosby's is not too grand to auction even condominiums when a local developer is having problems. David's podium style is slow and precise. "Sometimes," he says, "you have to coax people along, but I always try to be dignified."