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Auction Houses: When To Use Them or Not / Part 1

Over the past 7 to 10 years, auction houses have multiplied themselves throughout the Hobby, springing up like a new popular fast food restaurant.  Interests in their services have grown immensely in a seller’s market that has seen record-setting prices for high grade cards like the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.  It is often these swirling prices that catch the collector’s attention and lead them to contemplate using such services to sell their cards or memorabilia.  Have you ever considered using an auction house?

The decision to use an auction house must not be taken lightly.  It is certainly recommended that doing your own research with the items you have to sell and getting familiar with the many different services available should always be your first step.  As many collectors have found out the hard way, choosing the wrong place to sell your collectibles can lead to potentially lost revenue and costly fees.  Has this ever happened to you? 

Why choose an auction house to sell your collectibles?  There are many good reasons why auction houses have found their niche in the Hobby as being a trusted resource in reaching potential buyers through their marketing services and customer base.  Auction houses are generally experts in identifying what your items are and what they are worth.  They have the marketing skills needed to be able to present your collectibles to an audience in the most favorable way to catch the eye of a buyer.  Auction houses employ professionals who know what to do and where to sell your collection to get the best value.  However, not all auction houses are equal.  Currently today, there are many different auction house brands to choose from such as Heritage Auctions, that offer the whole gamut of services found in the auction house industry.  It is their job to to promote, market and place your collectible items in front of the best audience that will most likely see what you have to offer and place a bid accordingly.   And depending upon the circumstances or auction house, this may not always follow the expectations of the consignor.  This is why I emphasize doing your own due diligence in studying the marketplace and knowing who it is you are consigning to.  Collectors who choose to use an auction house service, may come to the table with perceived expectations of what they think will happen, which may conclude in disappointing results.  Inexperienced collectors-turned-consignors often have inaccurate expectations and wind up disappointed when their item doesn’t sell for what they believe it should have.  This is another reason WHY you, as a consignor, need to understand the full auction procedure and what the real expectation should be that goes back to studying the marketplace and being an informed consumer.  Only then will you have the best chance to experience a positive result.


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