Unlike last week’s Sunday Special News Extra, this piece took very little time to draft. The question is, what auction houses will MEARS provide support to in 2008? The answer is simply Rob Lifson at Robert Edwards Auctions. What this means is for all of 2008, no work from any other auction house will be accepted by MEARS. Our position is and remains that we only care to do business with likeminded organizations when it comes to such issues as:
Disclosure of Ownership.
Open, Accountable, and Verifiable Bidding practices.
Public notification of any and all alterations, changes or modifications to products.
This date was established and the conditions set months ago. Hard copies were sent, received, and decisions made. I would like to think ample time was afforded for an informed decision.
Although not made public at the time of the rest of this information, MEARS had already decided that effective today, no other auction house work will be accepted from any auction house other than those that agreed to the conditions as outlined for the remainder of 2007 as well. Our position is that these organizations that chose not to participate with MEARS in 2008, would still be in a position to send items in for the next 6 weeks that could in fact run in auctions in early 2008. We have no interest in allowing people to “game” a time line. Also, as was stated previously, if auction houses’ attempt to circumvent our policy by having individuals attempt to send the items in prior to consignment and MEARS has reason to believe this is the case, we reserve the right to return the item without offering an opinion. We realize this will difficult to assess and will work with collectors on their retail submissions.
I have not commented on discussions during the period leading up to this point. It has been offered by representatives from at least two auction houses that this about MEARS “taking sides” and choosing Robert Edwards Auctions over Mastro’s. For those individuals as well as others who may want to see what MEARS is doing in that light, I will remind them that we are ones who established the conditions and have asked others to accept them. Secondly, Mastro’s was the largest single account that MEARS had in 2007. Lastly, we made this opportunity available across a wide audience, to include some we had previously severed relationships with. The notable exceptions were Leland’s and Grey Flannel.
Leland’s was not sent a copy of the policy and conditions based on an e-mail exchange I had with Mike Heffner some time back as we made the transition from SCDA to MEARS. Mike rather professionally and politely (as has always been his way in our discussions) informed me that Leland’s was not going to be a candidate for the MEARS services because they were very happy and satisfied with the way they approached this aspect of their operations. At that time I told Mike I respected him and his decision and would not approach Leland’s in the future with any other similar requests. I made this decision based on my personal and professional respect for Mike Heffner. For those who have alleged that MEARS only catered to those we did business with, I would also remind folks that the first person I sought out for an interview on hobby/industry related topics was in fact Mike Heffner. I also I sent this same series of questions to two other auction house representatives, both of whom we have done business with. In both cases, they said they would glad to participate but never returned the interview questions.
In the case of Grey Flannel, just prior to the actual mailing, Troy spoke with Richard Russek and informed him that MEARS was in the process of sending out hard copies of the policy for consideration. At that time, Mr. Russek informed Troy that his organization had already made its decision not to participate with MEARS and the mailing would not be necessary.
For the record, hard copies of the policy statement and a cover letter from Troy Kinunen were sent to these auction houses. The FEDEX Tracking information shows that they were in fact delivered to these organizations:
Vintage Authentics Auctions
Robert Edwards Auctions
Huggins and Scott Auctions
For those who think that the audits will not happen, I can assure you, they will. The cost for these compliance visits will be paid by me and me alone and will be on a non-reimbursable basis…Not by MEARS and not by Robert Edwards Auctions and here’s why. Troy and Dave have placed their financial livelihoods in my hand for 2 1/2 years. If MEARS went away and I never did anything else in this hobby or industry, the financial impact to me and my family would be next to nothing. If nothing else, I owe them this much. When I sold my shares back to the company last year, I did it at a net loss and set my salary so that it would be the lowest in the organization… tough to get people to follow any leadership without an example being set.
Secondly, I have to avoid even the most remote appearance of undo influence. If Rob Lifson gave me gas money to drive to NJ and $80 bucks a night for the Motel 6, this would somehow turn into a first class plane ticket, 4-star hotel, and an escort service in the back channel gossip of this industry…even this gossip would give some reason to doubt my motives and intentions. On a personal and professional basis, I just can not permit this to ever happen.
Over the next year I am sure collectors will still complain about things they don’t like about the industry and some of that may include MEARS. All I ask is that they honestly and objectively consider what they have been asking for and who has listened and taken action. I am tremendously proud of the position and stance taken by Troy Kinunen, Dave Bushing, and Rob Lifson. Unlike me, these men’s livelihood is tied directly to the policies I have set and they have agreed to adopt and adhere to…Say what you want about any or all of them, but please don’t use the phrase “they are just in it for the money” in connection with their names as they have proven that this is a baseless claim.
MEARS Auth, LLC