The sports memorabilia auction houses all want a niche. The newest among them, Historic Auctions based in St. Petersburg, Fla., has a niche that is impressively displayed in its first major auction. The company’s first auction ends Dec. 1 at www.HistoricAuctions.com and includes dozens of game-used jerseys from players including Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Joe Montana, John Elway, Albert Pujols, Jerry West and others.
“A niche that differentiates us is that in every auction we do, right around 70 percent of the stuff is acquired directly from the athletes, which makes it quite a bit different,” said company president James Brown. “Other auction houses may focus on cards, or vintage items, or presidential. We will have all of that stuff to make it a well-rounded auction for our customers, but we feel that no one else has the contacts to get the stuff directly from the players right after the game.”
Game-used items, therefore, will carry letters of authenticity directly from the players in most instances, Brown said. “They will come with a signed letter directly from the athlete,” he said. “We don’t need a third-party (authenticator), but just to do it, we have James Spence verify everything as well. We’ve also had equipment managers help the players out, because it’s not the easiest thing to do at times, keep track of things after the game.”
Spence then authenticates signed, vintage items that require a third-party certification.
Brown said the 30 percent of items in their future auctions that are not a player-submitted would consist of cards and vintage autographs. But the company opened with this player uniform-heavy event to make the point, “this is what we specialize in,” Brown said.
Brown said the company’s technology-based website is also a point of differentiation. “It’s better than the companies out there,” he said. “The bidding process should be a lot easier. For instance, if you get outbid, you’ll get an immediate e-mail.”
This auction is live now on the website; look for a 12-page color auction supplement that was bagged along with this issue. The company plans quarterly auctions and the “Opening Day” auction is scheduled to conclude on April 6 conclusion date. The website has information on consigning or bidding.