I am looking to sell an 1887 Old Judge Mickey Welch SGC 50. I am looking for advice.
Should I send the card to Mastro for the free selling commission or send it to Memory Lane and have to pay 10%. Memory Lane says they are better at advertising and since there buyers don't have to pay to be members, they get more hits?
Any auction house that tells you they are better at advertising, or have a secret list of clients that only bid with them, or give you any other promise that doesn't quite make sense, is lying. They would be the first one I would cross off my list.
It's like a used car salesman telling you the cars on his lot are better than anyone else's used cars.
disagree with barry i am sure he is a good guy and i`ve heard nothin but good things about the man and i know barry runs one of the very few honest auctions in this dirty industry but no matter what you think about jp`s past you got too admit memory lane is by far the best when it comes to advertising or i should say them sons of bitches spend more dough advertising than any other auction house every page of the smr is memory lane this and memory lane that and every page of the psa website is memory lane somewhere and every psa submission has memory lane advertising when it is returned to you and every psa member gets the catalog and knows when the auction ends they prolly spend over a million a year in advertising they even send out chocolate bars and cool babe ruth coins with the memory lane logo barry no disrespect i know you have been around the industry much longer and you got a lot of old school contacts but even so it is very difficult too compete with a million dollar yearly advertising budget when all you do for advertising is a 300 dollar monthly banner ad on a obscure msg board and i don`t think you can posibly have a customer base anywhere even close to the size of memory lanes not trying to start a flame war just giving my opinion. bulldog
"disagree with barry i am sure he is a good guy and i`ve heard nothin but good things about the man and i know barry runs one of the very few honest auctions in this dirty industry but no matter what you think about jp`s past you got too admit memory lane is by far the best when it comes to advertising or i should say them sons of bitches spend more dough advertising than any other auction house every page of the smr is memory lane this and memory lane that and every page of the psa website is memory lane somewhere and every psa submission has memory lane advertising when it is returned to you and every psa member gets the catalog and knows when the auction ends they prolly spend over a million a year in advertising they even send out chocolate bars and cool babe ruth coins with the memory lane logo barry no disrespect i know you have been around the industry much longer and you got a lot of old school contacts but even so it is very difficult too compete with a million dollar yearly advertising budget when all you do for advertising is a 300 dollar monthly banner ad on a obscure msg board and i don`t think you can posibly have a customer base anywhere even close to the size of memory lanes not trying to start a flame war just giving my opinion. bulldog"
No question that Memory Lane and PSA have been joined at the hip for perpetuating record prices for low pop commons and high grade stars to hundreds of PSA registry participants. The mentioned card does not fit into their strong "niche" of value.
George- I'm amazed that you said all that in only one sentence. Is your computer missing punctuation?
Memory Lane caters to the registry crowd. I specialize in early vintage material in various grades. But that is irrelevant. We live in the information age. Anyone who needs to find me does find me. There is no downside to Memory Lane advertising as much as they do but I am will to bet when it comes to 19th century and early 20th century material my mailing list and theirs is roughly the same.
When it comes to 1963 Topps high numbers in PSA 9 they are head and shoulders above me because I have never developed that end of the business. But if I had a PSA 9 high number and a set registry guy needed it, he would find me.
hey mikeu fys just too be clear i wasn`t disagreeing about barry being a good choice for auctioning this card i was disagreeing with barry`s comments in his 7:31 msg where he said an auction house is lying if they say they are better at advertising or have bigger client lists. bulldog
Tough choices, assuming of course that an auction house is the way you want to go. With Barry Sloate you get complete transparency, with Mastro or Robert Edwards you get name recognition and probably maximum exposure, and with the boutique houses like Memory Lane, Mile High Cards, and Goodwin you get somewhere in between. All of them can present your material in a very attractive manner to potential buyers. Go with who ever you are comfortable dealing with, but remember that the bottom line is the size of the check you will receive when the auction is over.
George- Memory Lane does more advertising than I do, that's not my complaint. They claim, according to the original poster, to do more advertising than Mastro. If that claim is in fact accurate, I will question it.
barry i think that claim is very accurate mastro does a lot of advertising but nowhere as much as memory lane from what i`ve seen and the memory lane advertising is annoying not mr mint annoying but in your face annoying and it is everywhere mastro like rea has more classy advertising and it doesn`t stand out as much so i don`t think it is as effective. bulldog
and barry don`t forget you got to request and pay for the mastro catalog at least the 1st time but the memory lane catalog is just sent unsolicited to a very large segment of the hobby for free so it is seen by many more eyes. bulldog
So it sounds like Memory Lane may do some unnecessary advertising, because at some point you have diminishing returns.
If company A spends $1 million a year on advertising, and company B spends half that much, it's quite possible that company A isn't reaching that many more customers than B is. They certainly won't get twice as many bidders, or significantly higher prices.
But they also haven't asked me for advice on how much to spend either.
Edited to add that $75 charge is a curiosity. Don't understand the thinking behind it, since I don't believe any other house charges for their catalog.
This message has been edited by barrysloate on Feb 24, 2008 11:36 AM
If I were considering a consignment, one consideration would be where people interested in my particular item would look. For an N172 HOF, I would not consign it to Memory Lane, no matter how much advertising the do (and I doubt it is more that Mastro). They don't specialize in 19th century material. As people have mentioned, similar items do very well in Barry's auctions as they do in Mastro, REA, etc.
By the way, I think Masto and REA advertise in a lot of venues that people who only read baseball card related magazines do not see.
i believe some cards at memory lane do not really change hands, for example the 33 goudey gehrig psa 10. it was sold for $275k, but never removed from the psa registry. the cards they sell are so over priced i have a hard time believing they are all legit. if the IRS were to audit them, i wonder what the outcome would be. i think the amount of advertising a company does at some point just doesn't work anymore. does McDonald's have to advertise on every channel, multiple times a day, 365 days a year? memory lane's advertising costs have to seriously cut into their bottom line, unless its a write off to show losses. Mastro is branching out, they sell Lalique, Oil Paintings, Coins, Currency, Posters, Comics, ect... so they have to reach another audience.
Mastro, hands down. ML's forte is not in the 19th century field. There are also some buyers who will not do business with them for various reasons, so that is a consideration. I've seen good things and had fine dealings with Hugins & Scott and Heritage. REA is first class but you'd have to wait until next year for another auction.
Personally, if I knew what I wanted from it, I would BST then try ebay or the auction houses after that.
"every psa member gets the catalog and knows when the auction ends"
WoW, One Sentence! Had to pull this to disagree.
I've been a PSA member for the past 5 years. I've never gotten 1 catalog from them! You are Right about their auction status, Many, many email reminders. I did hear about the chocolate money! Did get any of dat either My children would of enjoy them (me too!)
funny thing is, when a very high profile card in a psa holder is offered, its very easy to notice when it changes hands on the registry (or does not change hands). i would be surprised if this was the case for Mastro, unless there was a reserve that was not met. ML is what it is, but the money is going somewhere and coming in from somewhere because the business model to me doesn't add up for legit transactions. i remember a 1915 Cracker Jack set Mastro sold off last year went for around $190k or so. You mentioned that you felt the seller really took a bath on it and Mastro may have hurt the potential due to the simultaneous bidding process (bid as individual or group thing). i didn't really have a position on it. However, interesting thing is, i spoke to an elderly gentleman on the phone last Dec (i think in his early 70's). turns out he is in the card restoration business and has the ability to remove glue residue, press out wrinkles, remove stains ect... as he was explaining these things he mentioned a dealer from Cal bought a complete 1915 CJ set all glued in an album for $65k. sent him the entire thing and we was able to restore all but 2-3 cards, then they all got sent off to PSA. I of course, was not there and do not know if its true or not, but it is coincidental and the dealer about triples his money. Mastro had no involvment other than show casing the cards. so in the end, the seller did quite well, and alot of the buyers were happy with their purchase price.
i am however very happy with Mastro's new bidding tiers and Doug has been available to speak with when opinions differ. regards
In response to Jeff's recent inquiry....We have instituted reserves in some non sports areas but have never instituted a hidden reserve when selling cards or for that matter any sports memorabilia. We understand that from time to time a bidder may have a buddy bid on an item but if they win it they write a check for it and pay the buyers premium just like everyone else.
We have never had a hidden reserve on a sports card or sports memorabilia item. Further we have never returned an item to the original consignor after a bid was accepted in an auction. Finally, although I expect it has happened I do not have first hand knowledge of a person ultimately getting a card back that they auctioned. I can tell you if it has happened the person paid the buyers premium and did not get a fair advantage over another bidder.
I don't think there is a single person in the world looking for an N172 Welch who is unaware of Mastro, REA, Barry Sloate, Lew Lipset, etc. Anyone looking for that card or any other Old Judge HOFer gets all of their catalogs and reads them religiously. So, my two cents worth is this -- advertising doesn't matter in the slightest for this card.
Actually a good resource would be Hal...ask him. Last year he entrusted us with incredible cards including a T206 Honus Wagner. Every card was promoted to the extreme and given the ultimate exposure. At the same time every card had a ridiculously low minimum bid and it was going to sell for what it sold for. In the case of the T206 Wagner and most of the other cards I am sure he was very satisfied....in the case of some of the other cards he was not so happy but there were no side deals, no reserves. It was a pure auction.
I mean this in a kind and respectful way. It seems strange to me that you spend so much energy contending against Mastro and their policies, yet spend tens of thousands (admittedly on your part) with them. Do scruples go out the window when a desired card appears? From this end, it seems so. Interested to read your reply.
James, fair question. And I will answer it but I'm afraid if I do answer it completely honestly I'll unnecssarily embarass Doug which I don't want to do -- this isn't a bash Mastro thread. Perhaps I'll give a fuller version to you via email.
In short, I know what Mastro is and I bid accordingly.
Jeff... i guess at the end of the day, you must spend enough money with Mastro for them to take so much grief. Have you ever been banned by them? would you share some of the other auction companies you bid with besides REA & Ebay. regards
If you didn't want to embarrass me you would call me....you have my number and I am very accessible.
Same thing happened a few weeks ago with Jim Crandall...I offered to talk to him on the phone - he never called. I offered to meet him for lunch or dinner in New York - he indicated we would get together and he never responsed.
Seriously call me and air your concerns. If you honestly believe there was some bidding impropriety or a situation where a consignor got a card back I would appreciate if you would discuss this with me prior to communicating it on a public Board.
Doug, I noticed that all of Hal's Old Judges, 1873 Boston Cabinet and Allegheny Bresnahan found their way into Barry's auction directly after they were in Mastro's auction recently. I'm wondering if in fact it is true that Hal was the consignor both times.
Jeff - you are relentless! What are you trying to investigate? You think Mastro Auctions didn't really sell Hal's cards, because Barry had them for auction later? Why would Mastro Auctions even do this? What purpose what it serve? Who cares?
I understand Jeff's concern with the potential use of 'hidden reserves' and so on, but Doug Allen has already denied that Mastro Auctions has ever used such tactics in connection with a sports card or memorabilia lot, and I believe him. I don't even care where Barry Sloate got the cards. Can we just move on now?
I have to be very careful how I respond due to privacy issues. I think this answers the question....Hal Lewis was not the bidder of record on the lots in question (note I am not confirming he was the consignor....just confirming he was not the bidder). In addition I can confirm that the winning bidder was charged the full buyers premium and this amount was fully paid for. After that I have no idea who consigned them to Barry.
Anticipating a flood of these types of questions I will not be answering them on this forum. If you are concerned about this type of activity my e-mail and phone lines are open.
Doug, I'm sure Hal will want to come on and straighten this all out. Surely any privacy issues of Hal can be waived by him should he so choose.
As for calling you, in retrospect I think the public forum works better as these are issues important to the hobby and those on this board -- and your posts and admissions are available to anyone who might wander over here. Therefore, this is good for you and Mastro as it allows you to air your positions on such important matters and to clear up any misconceptions that might exist by the card-buying public. Agreed?
"Doug, I'm sure Hal will want to come on and straighten this all out."
Not sure what there is to straighten out -- unless that is you think Doug is lying. He said point blank that Hal did not bid on any of his lots that ended up in Barry's auction, and that whoever did paid in full for them (including the BP).
If in fact Hal felt the prices were not high enough or for some other reason bought back through an intermediary some of his cards, what is Mastro supposed to do? I recall a thread about this issue several weeks ago and Barry Sloate, as trusted and respected as any board member or auctioneer, himself stated that as long as the consignor is not doing the bidding and in the absence of uncontrovertible evidence the bid is being placed on behalf of the consignor, he will accept the bid.
I might add that I am not that naive to believe that in the hobby overall all reported auction "sales" actually took place. However, if I was charged with investigating this practice within the hobby, I would find my time much better spent by focusing on auction houses other than Mastro.
This message has been edited by benjulmag on Feb 25, 2008 4:54 PM This message has been edited by benjulmag on Feb 25, 2008 4:53 PM
If Hal was not the bidder of record, and the bidder of record was not the consignor, then Mastro is free of liability for wrongdoing. I understand what you are getting at Jeff, but I don't see how an auction company can prevent someone from having a friend bid for them.
And actually, if they are willing to swallow the BP and buy it back, I don't really have a problem with that. If I think an item of mine that I consigned is worth 10k and minutes before it is to close, it is still at 3k, if I am willing to pay the 20% BP, what is the problem? It may not be particularly smart to do that and immediately consign it to another auction house, but I don't think it is morally objectionable.
If that's the case then we have problems, but if you don't have evidence of that Jeff then why bring it up? There really is NOTHING that Mastro can do if a consignor has a buddy bid on one of his lots.
I am sorry if I missunderstood. Below is the string of emails. I deleted your email address in respect of your privacy.
I emailed you Tuesday after you posted on the Board that you would be calling me letting you know I would be heading to NYC in case you tried to call (see Tueday Feb 12th p.m. email below)You followed up stating "if you are in NYC I will buy you breakfast or lunch." (Tues Febuary 13th a.m. email below). I emailed you back saying give me a call Thursday pm and we can set it up (Wednesday February 14th a.m. email below).
My memory is sometimes foggy but I have to tell you when I am offered a free breakfast or dinner I rarely forget ;->
Just so we are clear I will not be calling your secretary but will make myself available to answer any questions you may have. She is welcome to call me to set up a mutually agreeable time.
From: Doug Allen
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 6:43 AM
To: email deleted
Subject: RE: Follow-up
That will probably work....call me Thursday pm and we can set it up. Doug
I don't have a dog in the fight, but you're CONSTANTLY busting Doug's chops here and HE is supposed to call YOU? Sounds like you don't want resolution, just to continue busting. If the crusade is that near and dear to you, pick up the phone.
No and thats my point. Doug runs the leading auction house in the business. He has made some statements that deserve further elaboration. I have know personal issue with Doug. I simply want to know his company's policies and if they have changed. If you call that busting his chops then we disagree.
I think he should publicly answer these questions. If you simply don't care if he takes creases out of cards fine--I think a lot of collectors do and would rather hear from him directly that have me come back on and say what he said over the phone.
Jim, pardon my interruption, but if you don't care whether the cards you bought in the past that now reside in your registry sets had creases taken out of them then why do you care if future cards you purchase have creases removed?
Jim, I think it is now a forgone conclusion that card tampering will be around as long as people are willing to pay huge sums for small increments in a grading scale. The best you can hope for is that the graders keep pace with the crooks. Doug has said that Mastro no longer takes out creases....what more do you want?
I missed that. I would like him to say what you just said he said. Simply admit he did what he already said he did, estimate how many cards he might have directed his staff to alter and state that he does not do this anymore. Leon said he told him he doesn't do it any more but I have never seem him write that he stopped taking outy creases--have you?
No, Jim. I'm not on Mastro's payroll. I retired from my "day job" 12 years ago at the age of 40.
I'm just frustrated with the hijacking of another poster's thread in which he asked a legitimate question. If you want to launch a crusade against Mastro, have at it. On your own thread.
Tony III asked advice on selecting an auction house. He deserves honest answers without having to wade through a score of posts that have been done before.
In essence, I agree with you. Doug should answer publicly. You have enough clout to get him to talk to you and he will do so with the understanding that what he says will be reported here, by you. But this isn't the correct thread.
First, in the intrest of full disclosure, I used to work for MastroNet / Mastro Auctions from 1998-2002 (end of 98 to the end of 02). And have not always had the best relations with some at Mastro's and at other times got along great with everyone there. Kind of like a big family; you might, at times, have the greatest contempt for your siblings but eventually you get over it. Since I no longer have any affiliation with Mastro's, in fact I am currently consulting for a competing auction house (I won't attempt to highjack the thread by posting the auction house name in this thread for promotional purposes) so I have nothing to gain by jumping to their defense. While employed by Mastro's I never witnessed any type of "protection" being offered to a consignor. On the contrary, I have personally seen some premium consignements lost due to the company policy of making it a "true" auction without hidden reserves.
This is an attempt at getting this thread back on track to an honest question. These are my limited observations about where to sell / auction your material.
1) All (in my experience) dealers and auction houses do have customers that are unique to their buisiness. When I hired on at Mastro's they had a mailing / customer /potential customer list of well over 10,000 names while I, on the other hand, had a relatively small customer list of under 1,000 names. When we merged lists 80% of my customers were not on their list. Furthermore, when auction houses sell a variety of different collectibles (i.e. sports, comics, political, etc.) you will inevitably intrest some of your customers from one area to another. I can't imagine a collector of something, not sports related, not wanting a Ty Cobb card or a Babe Ruth ball. So often times auction companies that handle a variety of different collectibles can bring more buyers to the table.
2) Auctions are material driven. Regardless of how a collector (for the most part) feels about an auction house, that collector will likely bid if what they are looking for is only available in an auction that they would prefer to avoid for whatever reason. If you have a special piece up for auction, the buyers will find it.
3) Collectors often times feel more comfortable bidding or bidding higher than normal if the auctioneer or auction staff has more in depth knowledge of what they are interested in. Since many in the business got into the business as a result of being collectors first it would stand to reason that rare display pieces, pins, and photos will sell for more in Mastro's if they get a chance to talk to Bill Mastro personally; collectors of Old Judge and other 19th century cards may feel more comfortable talking about a potential purchase with Barry since it has been a strong area of interest for him for many years, etc. Because of this, personal relationships with dealers / auction houses that you as a consignor or buyer are comfortable with are very important. If you sense someone trying a "hard-sell" technique on you call someone else you trust whether it be a fellow collector or another dealer for their opinion.
4) The amount that an auction company spends on advertising is often irrelevant. Nearly all of the advertisements are geared toward obtaining consignments. Even when they preview upcoming auctions, it is in order to show potential consignors how the auction house is willing to promote future consignments. I'm not saying that the advertisements don't produce a few more bids in an auction but, again, the auctions are material driven and the overwhelming majority of collectors looking for a particular item will find the auction whether they see an ad or not.
5) Look at any potential auction company's prior catalogs / auctions and decide for yourself if that company's auction will compliment your consignment to your satisfaction.
I am sorry if this post seems long-winded. For many on this board I haven't written anything that would change the way that you sell or consign. For those that do not sell or consign often these are all things that you should seriously consider before signing "The Contract"; you only get to sell it once, there aren't any "do overers". Even if you feel that the item that you have already consigned isn't going for what you hoped for, having one of your "friends" shill bid the item to the point of winning your consignment back is a lousy idea. Is that item going to sell for enough more in another auction to make up for the seller's commission (0-15%) and the buyers premium (15-20%)that you'll be on the hook for if you buy it back?....Probably not.
Thank you for agreeing with me--Doug should answer this question publicly--
Dan--uh, not really--thats what Al would like to have you believe but it opens up a whole host of other questions that demand an answer. If knowing that this was PSA and SGC's policy why did he direct his people to take creases out of cards in the first place....and how many cards did he knowingly direct to being altered before he "changed" the company's policy?
"Even if you feel that the item that you have already consigned isn't going for what you hoped for, having one of your "friends" shill bid the item to the point of winning your consignment back is a lousy idea. Is that item going to sell for enough more in another auction to make up for the seller's commission (0-15%) and the buyers premium (15-20%)that you'll be on the hook for if you buy it back?....Probably not."
This would be the case if the only items shilled were the ones bought back. But as we often know, from eBay as well as other examples, the benefit can be in having that bid topped by the current hi bidder. Easiest example:
10 items currently bid to $1000 ea.
Consignor (through an intermediary) tops all 10 items to $1100.
Other bidders top 8 of 10 items to $1210. Consignor buys back two of them.
Consignor sees 8 items sell for an extra $1680, less 10% seller's fee, nets $1412. Consignor loses 25% on two items @ $1100 - total loss $550.
I can clearly see the financial benefit in pushing your own consignments in an auction. However, as long as the auction house isn't allowing direct consignor bids, or cutting side deals - what more can you ask? Whether you think they are or are not, or the degree to which they police it, is a question you have to determine for your own comfort.
The best example is an auction house receiving bids from a single bidder on five different items, all the same consignor's item, and all varied enough that it is unlikely a single bidder would pick out these exact lots (vs. someone bidding on all T206s that happened to be consigned by the same person). _I would ask the auction houses - do you have any abilities to track such a suspect circumstance? Do you care?_
What if a shill bidder "wins" an auction on a card where there was no consignment fee and never pays for the card, but then the consignor wants the card back? Then the consignor doesn't seem to be out anything except a little time.
With respect to a lawsuit, it seems to me that if a consignor and a friend conspired to shill an auction and the shill bidder refused to pay, it would be highly unlikely that there would be a lawsuit. Before I explain why, I have not reviewed the bidder's agreement with the auction house - so I dont have all the terms in front of me to state this with certainty. That said, in reality, the auction company is only going after the bp. Rarely, if ever, is a 15 or 20% bp going to be enough to justify the expense of a lawsuit. A 10k item is still only going to have a 2k bp - hardly worth the expense of a lawsuit in my opinion. Heck, unless you have collection attorney's working on percentages of your recovery, even a 20k bp is going to be hard to recover without fees eating into most of the recovery. Now, if there were a way to recover attorney's fees, perhaps lawsuits do become more of a possibility.
He paid about 18K for it, and it now resides in a PSA 1 holder. It is easily recognizable as the upper left corner is missing. Leland's auctioned it about five years ago. I guess I would let him off the hook and take it back too.
Barry - of course, you had to give the bidder the card after he paid. Now what would have happened if your consignor, who was in on the shill, had demanded the card back as soon as you notified him that the bidder refused to pay? Ive never seen a consignment contract, but unless it gives you the right to retain the card while you seek legal action, I suspect you would have had a more difficult time pursuing the matter.
Moreover, most sales are not 100k wagners. I'd say one would have to be pretty stupid to risk being responsible for the bp on such an expensive card. The average 5-10k lot isnt going to be worth suing over.