Heritage Auction House

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by marbury518, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. marbury518

    marbury518 Marbury

    Was interested to read that an auction house uses a pseudonym to bid on lots it has for sale. Shame I don't know if I'm bidding against another coin collector or the Auction House. Moral here, don't keep responding when your bids for an auction three weeks away are immediately outbid if you don't think the price is right.......mmm my naivety never ceases to amaze
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  3. rlm's cents

    rlm's cents Numismatist

  4. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    I have been going with my son to estate and foreclosure auctions near here. You could spot the shills at one time but since they added on-line bidding to the live action, it's impossible to know what's going on.

    We just generally grab the first item up. They drop the hammer quickly to stir the interest. We always go early and take a good look, make lists with our limits, etc. But if you aren't careful they can burn you.

    I believe even eBay sellers are using shills for a lot of items. I think it is a "nature of the business" sort of thing.
  5. marbury518

    marbury518 Marbury

    Auction 'practices'

    I did well at their recent auction and according to Noble Numismatics in Australia, I made quite a bit of money if I were to sell these New Buys'. I bid yesterday for same coin type, not a key date at all and not more than AU50 and was outbid immediately at every turn.........decided, wisely to pass on it. I guess if you do the right research and stick to your limit, these practices shouldn't burn you. The research bit is not always easy...although I consider myself a novice really, now I buy from all over the world, I notice that the values of coins is quite different in different markets. Thanks for the reply. marbury518
  6. mark_h

    mark_h Somewhere over the rainbow

    That is the key - determine your price, set it and the forget it. Most auctions I win I bid once on. This goes for all auction houses - even ebay. I am much more cautious on ebay and very seldom bid. I have also found that if a coin realizes $460 on Heritage - you want to be the first one to bid 400. Kind of funny how at times the same type coin and grade keep going for the same price. It is almost like nobody will be the first one to bid over you.

    And I have mentioned this in other threads - I have seen coins go straight from Heritage to ebay with a huge mark-up(20% to 50%). And then they sell again.
  7. marbury518

    marbury518 Marbury


    Yes, I agree with what you're saying......that was how things worked out the other day but yesterday just was a bit odd as I put in good offer but was immediately trumped. I don't buy much off e-bay anymore but that has been pretty good most of the time. Just put a bid in on a Hong Kong auction......selling for double the estimate on e-bay......wish me luck.......anyone can buy I guess, I'm not to so hot at selling!

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Every auction house there is bids on items they sell and always have. All you have to do is read their auction agreements to know this. It's standard industry practice.

    It's not a secret and never has been. But people are always amazed, surprised, angry or upset when they find this out. Why I don't know. What I do know is this - they are obviously not reading the auction agreements they sign and/or agree to.
  9. marbury518

    marbury518 Marbury

    Internal bidding practices

    Clause 21 can be found on the Heritage T and C, admittedly amongst the many 1000's of words in the small print: the issue sounds very familiar to me as someone with a Ph.D in US Campaign Finance.....one side says there's evil intent, a conspiracy and this sort of practice needs stamping out, whilst the other side says, hey there's sunshine and openness and most practices should be allowed as long as its not hidden and those interested can be bothered to look/read about it and make their voting, or in this case buying decisions in that knowledge.

    The Auctioneer, its affiliates, or their employees consign items to be sold in the Auction, and may
    bid on those lots or any other lots. Auctioneer or affiliates expressly reserve the right to modify
    any such bids at any time prior to the hammer based upon data made known to the Auctioneer or​
    its affiliates. The Auctioneer may extend advances, guarantees, or loans to certain consignors.
  10. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    That's good to know. I have never been to a coin auction, although sometimes there are coins in the estate;s that are offered. The bidding has always been more than I was willing to pay for those though. But there are some really good bargains to be had. I nailed a pair of mint condition Willit's-Tobin Fawley 12" carousel horses # 33 & #581 for $30 ! For BOTH ! No one there knew what they were or took the time to research, I guess. lol I was going to flip them, but the wife took one look and they belong to her now.

    I do know that automobile auctions can be fantastic for getting a deal on the first one up. They really want to get the action started it seems and sell the first one really quickly.

    It all comes back down to what every expert here has been telling us. Knowledge is the key. You can't get hurt if you acquire the knowledge first. Sometimes we find out the hard way though. At least I have.

  11. kangayou

    kangayou Junior Member

    I like your logic to just bid your limit and forget about it. I lose every auction I bid on at Heritage because I bid what I am willing to pay max and forget about it. It costs me nothing to bid and maybe 1 day they won't have any other bidder for that particular item and I will win for a great price plus buyer's premium :)
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    marbury - have you ever read the Terms And Conditions for the European auction houses ? They say the same thing. As I said - all auction houses reserve the right to bid on any item offered in their auctions.

    My point is, the practice is not limited to houses in the US. Even the most respected houses in Great Britain do it.

    Evil or a conspiracy ? Hardly, it's just good business practice. Now if you don't understand that consider - say an item has what the house thinks is a low bid. If the house thinks that the item is not going to be bid up higher, and they believe the item is worth more than the high bid - would it not be a good idea for them to buy that item and then sell it themselves ? Is that not what any coin dealer bidding in any auction is doing ?

    Pretty much all auction houses are also coin dealers. So if they see a chance to get an item for a bargain price it would be foolish, bad business practice, for them not to buy it themselves.

    Is it evil or a conspiracy for a coin dealer to bid on item in an auction knowing full well he is going to sell that item for a profit to one of his customers ? Is it evil or a conspiracy for a collector to buy items at auction and then turn around and sell them for a profit ?

    No, it most definitely isn't. That is business, plain ordinary, and everyday business. That is what businesses do. They buy items and sell them at a profit.
  13. swhuck

    swhuck Junior Member

    If you bid in a Heritage auction and are immediately outbid, all that means is that someone else already placed a higher bid than yours. Nothing fancier than that, and it happens literally all the time. Bids in our auctions are treated exactly the same way, regardless of who places them. As several other people in the thread have suggested, we recommend that you know your limit and stick to it.

    Yes, we do place bids on items in our auctions; this is not a secret, and GDJMSP explains very, very well why we and other companies do this. We place similar bids on items in other companies' auctions.

    The house wins items in our auctions all the time, with the idea that we can make a profit by reselling the item... and just as often the house places bids that are nowhere near the sale price of a lot. We do NOT shill bid. In fact, the story about the pseudonym is laughable -- what does it matter what name the bids are placed under when, unlike eBay, all bids in our auctions are placed anonymously? :)
  14. marbury518

    marbury518 Marbury

    There are a plurality of views about the practice and I'm sure it's no secret as it can be found by those who choose make it their business to look.....some are comfortable with it, some not, lets draw this
    one to a close eh....
  15. imrich

    imrich Supporter! Supporter

    Very Interesting "Spin"

    Since what appears as a disclosed representative has ventured forth to defend what I consider an abhorrent practice, and has presented what I believe to be false statements about a competitor, I feel compelled to present my understandings.

    I believe shill, house, insider, controlled, conflict bidding to be similar, if not identical. In my opinion the names differ, but the outcome is the same. Where I was schooled it's called "conflict of interest", and possibly results in significant penalties for insider actions, especially without "full disclosure". IMHO this practice is reprehensible, but possibly legal, if fine print may state the possibility/conditions of such action. I believe the action should be disclosed as a "house bid" when this practice is implemented in an incremental auction, unless the only bid placed is the final bid. If the bids were placed in an open auction of another, this practice wouldn't be challenged.

    If a name is meaningless in an auction, than disclosure of a "house bid" should have no effect on these insider actions, but competitors would be appropriately informed. In regard to your statement concerning eBay auctions, I believe that their non-descript bidder mechanism assures anonymity, and their "private" auctions guaranty same.

    I was an active buyer from Heritage in the past, purchasing numerous coins, with a prompt payment record. I believe in placing an unconventional (e.g. $234.78) maximum bid at the auction onset, and allow the bidding to continue without any additional efforts. One evening I placed my onset bids on several coins, and awaited the auctions outcome. I won several coins, but one coin which I savored, with an IDENTICAL bid amount, was awarded to another. I had placed the initial bid, and was livid at the outcome. I tried calling to receive an explanation, wrote numerous letters asking for a response/explanation. I received nothing but threats of privilege revocation if I didn't pay promptly for the uncontested auctions I'd won. I didn't pay, and privileges were revoked, not being allowed satisfaction, or firm/records access again. I personally discussed the matter with others who had realized similar limited access for communication, and realized that further efforts were futile.

    If I've erred in my exceptions, or my process understandings, I still have records, and would appreciate constructive correction, or an explanation. I'm fallible, and would acknowledge a logical corrective explanation.

  16. swhuck

    swhuck Junior Member

    Please contact me privately.
  17. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins

    Mark, what you have stated brings this to mind....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLq27iOW0R0


    That stated, you are most indeed correct. It is what I have done tonite, bidding on my first ever Heritage auction...:)
  18. rlm's cents

    rlm's cents Numismatist

    You are one of the few I have seen with a problem at Heritage and even rarer, one with a problem that has not been resolved. However, I think I can guess why you had a problem.
  19. imrich

    imrich Supporter! Supporter

    PM "Enlightenment"

    Thank you for your appropriate response, corporate attitude enlightenment, and considerate offer to investigate/address, and possibly correct any past misunderstandings/actions. Your consideration/efforts are appreciated.

  20. kangayou

    kangayou Junior Member

    Well, I can stop my whining cause I finally won my first Teletrade Auction !
    I wanted to start adding some silver commemorative to my pile and got 1 I like.

    Attached Files:

  21. EyeEatWheaties

    EyeEatWheaties Cent Hoarder

    And then they put the coin up on a real auction site like eBay with a larger audience, higher closes, no buyer fees, a place where sleazy schill bidding is not allowed. :)
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