MEARS Auctions is beginning our second year with the January 19th through 28th event. This auction will feature historic and rare football photographs from the John Rogers Archive. This first of many offerings from the Rogers Archive represents a significant and exciting evolution from where MEARS Auctions was just one year ago. One evolution that we have mixed feelings on is the impact of focusing on the Auction Division. While we are extremely excited about the positive changes we have been able to effect within this segment of the industry, it has come at a real cost. To support MEARS Auctions for 2010, the following additions to the staff have been made:
Full time photographers (2)
Office manager (1)
Packing and shipping (1)
Inventory control (1)
Lot writers (1 full time, 3 part time)
There have also been increases in associated with legal and accounting/auditing fees. You know what’s coming so I will cut to chase, MEARS is raising our Buyer’s Premium from 10% to 15%. By comparison 15% is still at the low end of the spectrum for this industry:
Hunts Auctions 15%
Robert Edwards Auction 17.5%
Legendary Auctions 18.5%
Heritage Auctions 19.5%
Lelands Auctions 19.5%
American Memorabilia Auctions 20%
Grey Flannel Auctions 20%
As you consider these fees, consider them within the context of value added factors such as polices, procedures, control, responsibility and governance. Ask yourself the same questions we have asked and continue to ask ourselves each day.
Does the auction house ALLOW “IN HOUSE” or “SHILL BIDDING”?
Does the auction house PERMIT UNDISCLOSED RESERVES?
Does the auction house disclose ownership IN THE LOT DESCRIPTION?
Does the auction house provide for ACCOUNTABILITY FOR EVALUATION?
Does the auction house conduct SELF-IMPOSED EXTERNAL AUDITS?
Remember in an auction, your high bid is already paying for the product you bought. You are also paying a separate shipping/insurance cost.
What is your Buyer’s Premium paying for? If your Buyer’s Premium is paying for or subsidizing “Shill Bidding”, Undisclosed Reserves, Undisclosed Ownership and you are not getting Accountability for the Evaluation nor surety of the process that comes from a Self-Imposed External Audit, then where is the value added to this added cost? At MEARS Auctions we remain very proud and pleased that we alone provide all of these things at the lowest possible cost in the industry to you, the collector.
The MEARS January 2010 Auction will begin on Tuesday the 19th and will run through Thursday the 28th. Rare and valuable football memorabilia offered in an open, transparent and accountable venue…both rarities in themselves within this industry. Value added? We think so and we think you will too when you compare what it is you are offered and what it is you are paying for.
As always collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect. By the way, if you do, there is a special value added to this as well.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com