The MEARS March 2009 auction closed a few hours ago and congratulations to all that bid and won. A heartfelt thanks to all those that participated but did not come away with what they were after. I was truely pleased that MEARS Auctions does not feature language like this in our rules and policies. I read this in an auction catalog I got in the mail this week.

– XXXX Auctions guarantees, for sixty (60) days, the authenticity of each item in this auction only to the extent of the written description per lot in our catalog.

The last time I checked, there is no time limit on the MEARS Buyers Protection Program nor should there be. The money you spent on an item does not have a shelf life or expiration date so why should the product and services offered by MEARS Auction.

– A premium of 15% will be added to the successful bid price and is payable by the purchaser as part of the total purchase price.

MEARS Auctions features a buyer’s premium of 10%.

– Reserve bids may be executed on cataloged lots on behalf of the seller and shall be executed confidentially in a manner similar to the execution of absentee bids.

The only people bidding in a MEARS auctions are the bidders who want the item and no consigner or anyone from MEARS auctions is going to “help the process along.” The opening bid price is just that and a single bid at that price, barring other legitimate bids is all it takes to take it home.

In my opinion, this is what a legitimate auction should look like.

This month MEARS Auctions featured some 635 lots. Of that number, 458 drew at least one bid. The remaining 177 lots did not sell simply because no one bid on them. No hidden reserves or in house bids just to get the action started.

Of the 458 that were bid on, 132 went at the opening bid.

Of the lots sold in which collectors placed Max Bid, 137 sold for below what that max bid was and thus, by not engaging in shill bidding, MEARS Auctions left $10,536 on the table in raw bids alone. Those differences of those 137 lots that sold below the max price placed by the collector ranged from a low of $1.00 to a high of $1,702.00. If you factor in the Buyers Premium on the figure of $10,536, it comes out to $11,589.60. This may not seem like a fortune, but when the total bid amount for sold items came to be $56,689, by running a fair and legitimate auction, MEARS cut itself short by almost 20%. Last month MEARS left 8% or $3390.00 the table. This month the auction grossed more and still left a far greater % in the pockets of collectors.

Why do I make a point of addressing this in this detailed manner? MEARS Auctions has a number of responsibilities to collectors, consigners, and employees. What these three communities all have in common is an expectation for MEARS Auctions to do the right thing, all the time. Doing the right thing does not mean MEARS Auctions is infallible with respect to opinions, but having the Buyers Protection Program is our way of openly acknowledging it. We have a responsibility to consigners to show their items in the most positive light possible, but this can never be at the expense of purposefully misleading or trying to dupe a bidder on the item or the process it is offered through.

While some have suggested that all of this will retard the growth of MEARS Auctions since it may turn off some consigners, especially in light of what they have been promised by another auction venue, MEARS Auctions is more than happy to forego those short term relationships built around one sale or consignment. Why is this?

It all started with a simple mission statement. That being, to become an ethics driven, globally recognized, value added leader within the sports memorabilia industry. We are happy to report that what we envisioned years ago has come to fruition in the form of MEARS Auctions. The auction division represents a natural progression and outgrowth of what collectors have come to expect and associate with all things MEARS. Collector’s desire quality products, processes, and a venue they can trust and we have never forgotten that. These three things are touchstones at MEARS Auctions. Of course all of this reads well, but how is it seen in everything we do?

-No Shill Bidding or Hidden Reserves.

-An Industry low 10% Buyers Premium.

-The MEARS Buyers Protection Program.

Once again, congratulations to all that bid and won and thanks to all those that participated. As you get auction catalogs in the mail this month, take some time to read them, giving thought to the rules and procedures…Talk about March Madness.

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


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