There is a difference between reasonable reserves - and ridiculously low reserves. In the past, sellers often had no choice but to agree to ridiculously low reserves. Times have changed. Consignors today are often not interested in incurring the risk associated with putting absurdly low reserves, in many cases equal to only 10% or 20% (sometimes less) of full value, for items which have been purchased for thousands or in many cases tens of thousands of dollars. There is no excuse for intentionally putting a reserve of $200 on an item that is worth thousands of dollars. It is a practice which can be very misleading. It sends the wrong message to bidders regarding value and can unnecessarily cost consignors money.
If an item should sell for less than hoped, consignors shouldn't have to look back and think that an absurdly low reserve placed on their item by the auction house contributed to the poor final result. In the past, collectors often have had little choice.
Those days are over.
Ridiculously low reserves may make the auction house always look like a hero, but are not always in the best interests of the consignor. Robert Edward Auctions is responding to the demands of the marketplace. Today we believe the market demands reasonable reserves, both to provide a greater sense of comfort to consignors, as well as to not unnecessarily waste the time of interested bidders. It is still important to not have unreasonably high reserves, but it is no longer necessary or desirable to have ridiculously low reserves. Reserves which attempt to approximate something in the neighborhood of 50% of the value of an item, with the flexibility to set reserves at slightly higher levels if special circumstances warrant, is what the market is telling us is desired by buyers and sellers alike. In years past, Robert Edward Auctions was singularly responsible for making popular the extremely low reserve auction model. In the future, we will be singularly responsible for adjusting this component of the ideal auction model, thus providing greater and more valuable service to both buyers and sellers.