Back in April I wrote an article detailing why I feel hidden reserves and in house bidding on those items are deceptive business practices. I was very pleased with the attention that this piece garnered from individuals both in and outside the hobby/industry. From the very outset, MEARS Auction’s has run with no hidden reserves and no in house bidding. As a result, a number of higher end items have been listed with what some felt were high opening bids. A number of those lots sold with only one bid placed. This same one bid transaction has been shared by hundreds of lesser expensive lots over the first few auctions as well. With MEARS Auctions, there has been no fine print hidden in the bowls of a glossy auction catalog. If you place a bid on an item in a MEARS Auction and it remains the high bid at the end, the item is yours. You will have been bidding ONLY against other legitimate bidders who desired to actually take permanent ownership of the item. The final price for any item sold in a MEARS Auction represents a true legitimate price realized. Why do I continue to make such a big deal out of this?
Collectors who are looking to add a piece to their collection are often caught up in the bidding frenzy and a fear that they will lose an item to another collector. I think this is something most of us can relate to. But how many times has something like this happened and likely happened to you? Consider these illustrative examples:

An auction house has a fairly expensive item with an opening bid of $8,000 and a HIDDEN RESERVE of $45,000. Their rules allow for both the hidden reserve and their right to bid up to it. To get the action started, the auction house bids the opening $8,000 and then a few hours later, makes the next bid. You go on line and notice that the lot has been active for only a few hours, yet there are two bids. What do assume? There are now two other people besides yourself who want the item.

You counter with your first bid. If auction house has not set an auto next bid, they then come back a few hours or a day later and top yours. Then they come back quickly and top that bid again. Still thinking three or four people are in play? This deceptive business practices continues for the duration of the auction and you end up winning the item with a final bid of say $45,500. Kick in a 20% buyer’s premium and you have now spent $54,000 by chasing yourself.

Consider the same scenario, yet you have spent hours over the course of weeks following this item and go to bed with a high bid of $42,500. You wake up to see you have been outbid and the item listed as sold at $45,000. You tell yourself you were close and had a pretty good feel for the market value. You also kick yourself for not going to the next increment. What happens next? You see the same item in the next offering venue by the same auction house. Did the consigner stay with them? Did the auction house own the item to begin with and you never knew this? None of this good and folks it has been going on for years.

MEARS plans on running an auction in the November/December time frame that will feature a number of these types of low density high demand items with a few notable exceptions.

As with ALL MEARS Auctions, there will be NO HIDDEN RESERVES and NO IN HOUSE BIDDING. If you are out there as a collector or competing auction house and think that MEARS can’t attract these types of low density high demand items without hidden reserves or lavish cash advances, you couldn’t be more wrong. This is just the first cut at what will be offered in the November/December auction with the legitimate opening bids that are of a growing concern to legitimate bidders:

1960 Mickey Mantle World Series game used bat $50,000

1920s Walter Johnson game used bat $75,000

1930s Lefty Grove game bat $30,000

1920s Grover Alexander game used bat $30,000

1925 Side written Roger Hornsby game used bat $25,000

1971 Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds road game used flannel jersey $25,000

1966 Eddie Mathews Atlanta Braves home game used flannel jersey $27,000

1909 circa Ty Cobb Spalding game used bat $17,500

1971 Reggie Jackson Oakland A’s road game used flannel vest $12,500

1950s Jackie Robinson game used bat $35,000

These items will be evaluated over the coming weeks and that information will be featured as time goes on. This auction is months away, but take stock of what you can safely say you know about these historic offerings right now.

1. They will be available for actual ownership to any person who ends up with the high bid. Even if this is only one bid at the opening amount.

2. The only reasons you would not end with one of these items is that you either did not want to bid on it or could not afford it as the auction progressed.

3. You will ONLY be bidding against other legitimate bidders.

4. The buyer’s premium will be an industry low 10%.

5. The items will be evaluated by MEARS and covered under the MEARS Buyers Protection Program.

6. The MEARS auction experience is a significant departure from the deceptive and manipulative business practices that have permeated this hobby/industry for years.

I don’t know if I could have made all of this any easier to explain as I only used 120 words to do so. I feel it was clearly stated and not buried in pages of auction catalog bidding and procedure rules.

Personally, I am very excited about this auction and all that in entails. High quality items, informed consigners who refuse to subsidize deceptive business practices, and simple auction rules that can be communicated in 120 words.

As always, enjoy what you collect and collect what you enjoy.


For questions and comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at