The MEARS February 2009 closed just a few hours ago and I could not be happier with the results. By most measures, our peers in the auction house segment may be wondering what there is to get excited about, or in their case even concerned about with respect to an auction that saw final bid prices (not counting the Buyer’s Premium) of $47,360.00.
The Babe Ruth bat was a real success story, not limited to the $12,650.00 final bid price. The bat was sent in for evaluation, and based on what MEARS was able to show the owner about his bat, he decided to consign it to this auction. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this is the highest price paid for a Hillerich & Bradsby 40K bat at auction. Why was this? Was it because of the sexy glossy catalog the bat was featured in? No it was not as no catalog was produced. Was it because MEARS has “the largest mailing list in the industry?” No it was not, although bidder registration was up 39% from January. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how many or how collectors find out about an item. What matters is what they know about the item and the amount of faith they have in that opinion and the fidelity of the bidding process.
As happy as I am for the consigner of the Ruth bat, I am even happier with the amount of money MEARS Auctions left on the table. This auction featured some 813 lots. Of those, 212 did not sell. No shill bidding by the house “just to get the action started” or create false interest. Of the 601 lots that did sell, they sold for only what the actual and true high bidder was willing to pay for it. In the case of the Ruth bat, it was a record price. But what about the others?
203 lots or 34% of the total lots sold, went for a single minimum bid. In addition, another 142 lots sold for below what the winning bidder had registered as their max bid. In this case, MEARS Auctions left some $3390 dollars on the table. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, this figure is roughly 8% of the total final bid total. Would this money have been nice to have? Sure it would have, but ethical business practices do not have a price tag.
I have been writing for years, yes years, about the problems within the auction house segment of the industry. I have said that prices paid and realized are driven by bidder confidence (of course when not influenced by shill bidding) as it relates to both confidence in the item and the process. I believe we are seeing this at MEARS Auctions. MEARS has no hidden reserves, there for our rules do not include statements that other auction houses have such as “we reserve the right to place a bid on any Lot on behalf of the seller up to the amount of the reserve, if any. We will not specifically identify bids placed on behalf of the seller.”
For those who bid and won last night I offer my congratulations. For those that bid and did not come away with what you were after, I offer my thanks for your interest and trust. For those who registered and did not bid, I hope the next few auctions will feature an item of interest to you. I have not seen the inventory lists for March and April yet, but am being told that is better than what has been offered to date. MEARS auction’s is still not accepting large scale or general consignments at this time. I don’t anticipate this changing until the move into the new facility is complete. When this changes, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Until then, enjoy what you collect and collect what you enjoy. Along the way, if you’re bidding in a MEARS Auction, enjoy the fact that there are “No Hidden Reserves or Shill Bidding and an industry low 10% Buyers Premium.”
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com.