It doesn’t seem that long ago when MEARS was considered by many to be a “Day Laborer” in the employee of the Auction House segment of this hobby/industry. We wanted to do things a certain way because we felt they were in the best long-term interests of both our organization and the hobby/industry at large. Some auction houses decided to no longer work with us, and we also made a like number of decisions.
Last year Dave and Troy launched, with great success I might add, the Bushing and Kinunen MEARS For Sale Site. This year a 15,000 square foot facility was purchased and renovated to become the MEARS Corporate Research and Conference Center. By all accounts, it will be finished next month. But the MEARS expansion will not end with the brick and mortar, a tangible sign of our long-term commitment to this hobby/industry. The building will also serve as the operational center and home of MEARS Auctions.
That’s right MEARS Auctions. I am sure this will come as no great surprise to some as I have been alluding to this possibility for some time. The auction will be run as its own separate division within a larger MEARS structure. Other divisions are also planned as part of an overall managed growth plan that is likely to encompass the next 3-5 years.
The first auction will be held next month and for those eager to say we have waited to long to get the word out, that’s fine as we have never been opposed to go against the grain to do things the way we felt they should be done. This initial event will be small and will feature a large variety of items, certainly not limited to game-used uniforms and equipment. There will also not be any outside consignments for this auction. Both of these were conscious decisions on our part.
The size and scale of the event are purposely designed to enable us to test and evaluate internal operating procedures. There is no need or desire for consignors for this event based on current inventory and the fact that we did not want to be beholding to outside product to dictate our timetable or consume time in gathering consignments. This was critical given the competing demands for time and attention on the new facility.
The Auction Web Site is in the final stages of construction (www.mearsonlineauctions.com). We anticipate it being operational shortly in order to support registration and an auction running from 1 December through 18 December 2008. We envision an annual auction cycle that will combine small and large auctions, the smaller ones with greater frequency on a monthly basis. Our targets for the larger auctions for 2009 are April and September.
The idea of a MEARS Auction is certainly not a new one nor is it one generated solely by our own interest. For those collectors who have asked us about offering services along these lines, we will let you and the collecting public know when we will look to begin to accepting consignments. Based on what I have been told about the nature of some of these items and collections, I am excited about writing about them and seeing them brought to auction.
On an administrative note, the Auction House Rules and Policies are undergoing final review and approval and will be posted to the auction site homepage. There will no printed catalog for this auction.
There has been a lot of speculation recently as to why Chris Nerat left SCD to come to MEARS. Chris’s decision was shaped in part, and only in part, to come to MEARS with the understanding that he would be afforded the opportunity to help establish and grow this new division and his own hard work and success would have a direct impact on his own growth within the company. In my estimation, Chris Nerat is a multi-talented and hard working individual who has asked only for the chance to demonstrate his “value added” and advance based on his merits. Hard to say no or argue with a person like that.
This announcement is also part of the “restructuring” that Dave Bushing referred to in his Board Post on our website of 18 November . Dave decided earlier this year that he wanted to focus on buying and selling and MEARS Auctions will offer Dave a medium to continue to do just that. Part of Dave’s decision to forego authentication was in fact based on his foreknowledge of this venture. He wanted to ensure that collectors and bidders realized that he would have no part in the evaluation of his items, either owned outright or in part, that came to MEARS Auctions. Dave also felt compelled to sell his shares in MEARS back to company in order ensure he was not seen as being in position to unduly influence how his items or those he may later attract for consignment were treated. Dave Bushing believes in the organization he helped build and wants nothing more than MEARS Auctions to succeed for the benefit of those involved and the hobby/industry at large. No spin, that’s just the way he feels.
Troy Kinunen will initially manage the operational aspects of the auction with the support of Chris Nerat. I will serve as the Policy Director. I am sure this announcement has created more questions than it has answered. Many of those will be addressed as our Auction Rules & Policies are published.
We have enjoyed the growth and shaping of our organization and the hobby/industry at large over the past three years and see this as just another step in a positive direction for both. We are comfortable, but not complacent, about our reputation and position within this hobby/industry, both as individuals and at a corporate level. Our goal is to obtain the same level of recognition with this division as we have through our editorial/educational efforts and those of the authentication division. Our vision for this auction is simple…start small, do it right and grow, all the while never losing site of the fact that we should be expected to seek feedback from collectors to drive internal improvement at every opportunity. This is how MEARS was built and it has worked. We see no reason to change that.
The tone of this announcement has intentionally not been flashy or sexy, but rather factual and serious. This reflects our attitude toward this venture. I expect much will change about the face of the auction house segment of this industry in the months to come, we however remain committed to being a force of positive change and hope you will see this and enjoy this as much as we hope to.
MEARS Auth, LLC