The Spring Robert Edwards Auction is going to be a historical event. For the first time, an auction house has agreed to allow a third party to come in an audit their process and business practices. This was a condition established by MEARS for any auction house that wished to business with us in 2008. There was only one taker by the 11 November 2007 deadline. My plan is to be on hand at the close of the auction and then to conduct the policy compliance audit sometime after the proceeds have been paid out. This time lag is necessary so that I will be able to follow any lot from start to finish. I will check a certain number of lots at random and others against a profile I have developed. As a minimum, I will be looking at:
List of REA Employees and Interested Parties:
I have also prepared the following Non-Disclosure Agreement that I have asked Rob Lifson to print out on REA stationary for my signature. This was something I insisted upon doing for REA and not at Rob’s request.
According to Doug Allen in a mass e-mail announcement sent out earlier this year:
MEARS Authentication took what in the auction industry is an unprecedented stand. In order to do business directly with auction companies they are requiring access to private consignor and confidential bidding records. We are uncomfortable providing this type of access to any organization let alone one that as part of their business model conducts private purchases and sales. It is on this basis we made the decision not to renew our contract with MEARS. What has transpired since this decision is a process that we believe will make us a better firm and enable us to offer game used jerseys that have gone through an unprecedented third party review process.
I have said all along I would be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement. I have specifically identified both Dave Bushing and Troy Kinunen as outside third parties who will not be privy to any proprietary information. I guess for some, my word and a signed acknowledgement of my intentions is not good enough, but for Rob Lifson and REA it is.
Given the frequently apathetic state of this industry, I am sure there will be some who will offer comments along the lines of this being just a big PR joke and eyewash. They will be the same ones to say that I am not a trained auditor and this whole effort is pointless. To them I say, what are doing about this besides complaining amongst your peers? I don’t claim to have all the answers and never have. I have only had a vision of what I thought was a better way to do business because at the core, I am a collector who has always felt I was entitled to something better and just got tired of waiting for someone else to solve the problem.
When I decided to work to establish MEARS it was because I was comfortable working with the majority of the personnel that made up SCDA. I knew that MEARS had the potential to have a significant impact on the hobby/industry and I was being afforded the opportunity to have a significant impact on MEARS. Almost three years later, I am very happy with what I see in my organization and extremely excited about what the future holds.
When I have completed my Policy Compliance Audit, I will feature those results in a feature news story for MEARS On-Line…
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions and comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com