I miss Bill Mastro already …

Mastro_mug.jpg   I guess it’s a week for taking note of hobby pioneers stepping out of the spotlight, at least for the moment. The same week that Bob Schmeirer hands over the reins of the famed Philly Show to David Hunt of Hunt Auctions (yesterday’s blog), Bill Mastro has apparently stepped off stage as the famed Mastro Auctions has essentially been dissolved and instantly re-emerged as a new entity, Legendary Auctions.
   According to the press release (see our home page), the new company will look remarkably like the old one, at least in terms of three of its principals, except there will be no Mastro in any fashion.
   In a hobby/industry that lives and dies by the power and pervasiveness of the “rumor,” the odd, abrupt end of Mastro Auctions is an awkward final chapter to one of the great success stories we have ever seen. Given that just about the only information available falls under that sordid category of the unsubstantiated verified by the ignoble or uninformed, I’ll pass and stick to what I know firsthand.
   Our hobby has had a long and fascinating embrace of the auction as a means of moving material, but the elemental components would change over time. In the earliest days it was designed more to move quantity; as the hobby grew and evolved, it ultimately became the vehicle for getting the top prices for the very best material.
   Bill Mastro had as much to do with that evolution as anybody, initially with his consultant work with giants like Sotheby’s and ultimately with his link with another hobby pioneer, Don Steinbach, and later the creation of the Mastro auction behemoth.
   Over the last dozen years, it grew to dominate the sports memorabilia business and even spread to numerous other areas like comics, coins, art, Americana and even publishing. In the middle of all of that was Mastro, as tenacious a hobby figure as we’ve ever encountered, often brashly redefining the process of acquiring material for his auctions. He was, by his own admission, a barracuda when it came to deal making.
   From my perspective, he was a joy to deal with in the hobby press: accessible, candid, colorful and uncensored.
   I apologize for blogging something that sounds like an obituary. It ain’t. Regardless of how long Mastro’s hobby hiatus runs, I am going to miss him. 

7 thoughts on “I miss Bill Mastro already …

  1. Steven Greenes on said:

    Considering the scandal which is about to subsume Mastro and others, your column seems pretty weak.

  2. VOTC on said:

    It would be nice to see someone at SCD do a hard-hitting investgative piece updating the events that took place at the National last summer.

    There has been scant news on that topic for several months, and then we come to find out that Mastro Auctions is disolved and VP of Acquisitions Brian marren is out.

    These are only some of the questions that need answers:

    What is going on with the FBI’s investigation?

    Have any charges been filed?

    Was the dissolution of the company and release of Marren done to avoid charges ala a backroom plea deal?

    Come on, give us some sports collectibles journalism that only someone with your credentials and contacts can provide the consumer and the collecting public.

    If the industry media isn’t going to be a watch-dog to the alleged criminal activity and abuse of public trust that Mastro Auctions has been accused of, who will?

  3. JRJ on said:

    How about something on the "the odd, abrupt end of Mastro Auctions?" Why so abrupt? Why so odd? The questions someone else asked in the comments should be asked and answered.

  4. The last comment brings up a great point. How are we supposed to take SCD seriously (or even supprort the publication) when SCD continues to hide its head in the sand instead of leading with investigative articles? I cancelled my subscription recently as I became so upset with the continuation of Coach’s Corner auctions not only being advertised in SCD but also seeing feature stories about their auctions!

  5. Former Subscriber on said:

    Any plans to address the questions that have been raised above? They have merit, sir. Why enable commenting when you’ll just delete the opinions you disagree with or ignore them altogether?

  6. J Stewart on said:

    SCD — THE VOICE OF THE HOBBY…. the silent voice, anyway.

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