As a consignor, what's your criteria for choosing an auction house?
Many sellers consign their valuable material to a given auction based on one of two reasons: Either they personally know an auction house employee, or they know someone that knows an auction house employee and are "steered to" that auction house, often in exchange for compensation.
Is this really the right way to choose an auction house?
When making such an important decision, we think that carefully weighing and comparing all the important factors that define an auction service makes more sense, and allows for the most intelligent choice. At Robert Edward Auctions, the more knowledgeable a potential consignor is, the more likely they are going to want to use our auction service. The same is true for buyers (it's all related) but this is an ad for consignors. Our message: Don't be kept in the dark. Don't be fooled into thinking an auction house is right for the wrong reasons, or for reasons that are simply not true. Compare and contrast all the important issues. It's true that we don't accept everything for auction. We specialize in high quality material. But if you have items that are right for our auction, Robert Edward Auctions is the ideal option for consignors with high quality material that want to maximize their returns and want the peace of mind of knowing that every part of the auction process is being done in the absolute most ideal way.
We present the following checklist of meaningful CRITERIA for consignors to potentially consider when deciding which auction house to choose:
Highest Catalog Circulation. Pretending to send out more catalogs is not a substitute for actually doing it. It also raises the question "If I'm not being told the truth about something as basic as circulation, what else am I not being told the truth about?" REA really sends out the most auction catalogs. It's a big deal. It's great for bidders and it's also great for consignors.
Honest Auto-Bid. At Robert Edward Auctions, bidders know that they can trust REA. REA's Honest Auto-Bid system allows bidders to place maximum bids with security that no one, not even the president of REA, can know the limit of their maximum bid or even that they have placed a limit bid. No one else has this. Honest Auto Bid makes bidders more comfortable. This encourages aggressive bidding. It should. Honest Auto Bid is a big deal. It's great for bidders and it's also great for consignors.
Full Disclosure of All Lots Owned By Employees or Family Members. Talk about a can of worms...We believe that collectors approach auctions very differently when they understand that material presented is often owned by the auction company, as opposed to being consigned as represented, and are much less enthusiastic about bidding on all lots (including those lots which are actually consigned) in any auction in which they feel they have been intentionally misled. Most auctions have countless lots that are owned by the auction house, auction house company employees, and auction house company executives. The potential problems with reference to conflicts of interest this causes are enormous. Many bidders, once they become aware of the practice, are not even comfortable bidding in these auctions. REA's disclosure policies provide the greatest transparency for bidders. This encourages confidence and participation. It should. It's a big deal. This is great for bidders and it's also great for consignors.
No Employee or Auction House Bidding. Ever. There is no circumstance under which Robert Edward Auctions may execute bids on its own "house account," thereby unfairly competing with bidders. Such practices make bidders feel very uncomfortable and ultimately result in less bidder participation and lower prices for consignors. In fact, Robert Edward Auctions does not even have a "house account," unlike many other auctions. Many auction houses, as a standard practice, place bids in their own auctions against their bidders, with an emphasis on higher-priced items and on material they own. Many bidders who are aware of this practice shy away from bidding as aggressively (or from bidding at all) in these auctions. Some published auction house rules even clearly state that the auction house, as an entity, may place bids in the auction, in addition to permitting all executives and employees of the auction house to bid. The irreconcilable conflicts of interests that these common practices promote can ultimately hurt the performance of your consigned lots. REA's ideal and very strict policies regarding these issues (no auction house account; no auction house employees, executives, or their family members allowed to bid) promote maximum bidder confidence. This well deserved bidder confidence translates directly into more participation and, in many cases, directly into higher prices. And consignors don't have to worry about their item being downplayed in the auction in any way because someone in the company, perhaps an auction house employee or executive, or even the auction house itself, is interested in bidding on your item. Don't laugh. It happens. We've heard many cases of cards being switched too. In a world where a grade one way or another on a card can mean thousands of dollars, consigning to an auction house that is also a dealership can create risks that are rarely discussed. REA's unique policies are a big deal. They are the best both for bidders and consignors.
Permanently Archived Bidding Records. At Robert Edward Auctions, all bidding records are archived, as always, indefinitely, and will forever be available for auditing purposes if necessary. Some auction houses routinely alter or destroy bidding records after each sale. Why? Especially when it is a fact that the confidence of bidders is an essential ingredient to realizing the highest prices. If bidders don't participate because they are uncomfortable with the auction, they won't bid on your items. With good reason, everyone is comfortable bidding at REA. This is great for bidders and great for consignors.
The Best Authentication Disclosure Policy. Only at Robert Edward Auctions is a firm policy in effect that states that for all items which have been consigned to the auction by the authenticators (if any), this fact must clearly be disclosed right in the auction lot description. The auction house is responsible for this type of disclosure, not the authenticators. Authenticators don't write and publish the catalog, the auction house does. When there are serious conflicts of interest regarding the authentication and consignment of items, this can reflect poorly on all lots in the auction, including yours. REA's unique maximum disclosure policies regarding these issues promote maximum confidence for bidders.
The Very Best Authentication Services and Policies. REA does not compromise on the quality of authentication for the sake of "getting items in the auction." We use only the best authenticators, and do not "work the authentication system," shopping for a positive opinion on items (what we call "the mix 'n match" approach to authentication). Inferior and deceptive "authentication" practices, which are so common in the industry, can reflect poorly on all items in the auction, including yours. Robert Edward Auctions does not cut corners on authentication. Bidders know this and appreciate this. REA's approach to authentication on all items reflects positively on all lots in the auction.
Lower Seller's Fees. Robert Edward Auctions' commission rates range from a standard 15% down to ZERO PERCENT on particularly high value items. And there are no hidden fees for photography, grading, insurance, or anything else. REA provides a superior service and realizes higher prices while in most cases at the same time charging a lower percentage than other auctions. This is GREAT for consignors.
Free Catalogs. Robert Edward Auctions not only provides the largest auction catalog circulation, we do not charge for catalogs. Ever. Our award winning catalogs are sent to all collectors, dealers, and institutions free of charge. All catalog requests are also honored free of charge. This is great for buyers and sellers, and encourages maximum exposure for your items.
Does Not Alter Cards. Robert Edward Auctions does not alter cards. The altering of cards is epidemic, and what is even more alarming is the fact that many cards are being altered by dealers and by auction houses (who in many cases own the very cards being altered and auctioned). Robert Edward Auctions' position regarding the altering of cards is very clear: We don't do anything to cards. Period. The altering of cards by auction houses can affect the perception of all cards in the auction, even those cards that have not been altered. REA's strict policies regarding card alterations are appreciated by bidders, encouraging greater participation, and in many cases higher prices. This is GREAT for consignors.
100% Collection of Auction Proceeds. Year after year Robert Edward Auctions has set a standard of perfection for the collection of auction proceeds that other auctions never even approach. Many auctions report sales that for one reason or another are not executed, or have to be adjusted down due to nonpaying winning bidders, costing consignors money. For the past $41 million dollars in auction sales at Robert Edward Auctions, the adjustments to consignors due to nonpaying bidders has been exactly ZERO cents. This is simply unheard of. We take the integrity of the auction process very seriously. Bidders appreciate knowing that when they top a bid at Robert Edward Auctions, they are topping a REAL bid. Consignors appreciate getting paid 100 cents on the dollar. This is a very big deal to bidders and, naturally, to consignors as well.
Quick Payment of Auction Proceeds. No one pays faster than Robert Edward Auctions. Ask around. No one even knows how we do it. We start writing checks just a few days after the auction.
Unparalleled Knowledge and Research. Robert Edward Auctions is universally respected by collectors and institutions for the great pride we take in extensively researching and the documenting important items. Our scholarly approach is appreciated by bidders, makes our catalogs a must-have resource for all serious collectors, and also often unlocks hidden value in auction items which is GREAT for consignors.
Reputation for Honesty and Integrity. Robert Edward Auctions' unparalleled and well-deserved reputation for honesty and integrity understandably promotes bidder confidence, both in the catalog descriptions and in the auction process. This translates directly into greater and in many cases more aggressive bidder participation which is GREAT for consignors.
Cash advances and Credit to Buyers. Robert Edward Auctions always has millions of dollars available for interest-free cash advances. Robert Edward Auctions also works with buyers to make special credit arrangements to allow for time payments. This is great for buyers and can sometimes translate directly into higher prices, which of course is also GREAT for consignors.
The Best Auction Catalog In The World. In addition to providing the finest auction service in the industry, Robert Edward Auctions also provides the finest auction catalogs. Many have said that the Robert Edward Auctions award-winning catalogs are the finest auction catalogs published in ANY field of collecting. It doesn't take much time for collectors looking at REA's catalogs to realize that more work, more effort, more pride, and more care has gone into the assembly and creation of every REA auction than any other auction. This promotes greater bidder confidence, as well it should, and translates directly into higher prices for consignors.
As a consignor, what's your criteria for choosing an auction house?
If you have quality material you are considering selling, please call, write or contact us.