|Founded||1976Dallas, Texas, U.S.in|
(founder and CEO)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Products||Antiques and collectibles|
Heritage Auctions is an American multi-national auction house based in Dallas, Texas. Founded in the 1970s and 1980s from a partnership between two rival collectors, Heritage is an auctioneer of numismatic collections, comics, fine art, books, luxury accessories, real estate, and memorabilia from film, music, history, and sports.
Heritage Auctions was formed from a partnership between two collectors, Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin. In 1967, Ivy dropped out of the University of Texas at Austin to form Steve Ivy Rare Coin Co. in Dallas, Texas. In 1971, Halperin founded New England Rare Coin Galleries while still a freshman at Harvard University and would also later drop out of school. It was Ivy who first formed Heritage Auctions in Dallas in 1976 from his earlier, smaller business. The two bitter rivals often met at industry trade shows and auctions. In 1982, Halperin sold his Boston-based business and moved to Dallas to join Ivy and Heritage Auctions; with him, he brought Marc Emory, a partner who heads what is now part of Heritage's European operations. Greg Rohan joined the company in 1986 and is now president of the company. Besides Ivy, Halperin, Rohan, and Emory, the company includes four other partners: Paul Minshull, Ryan Carroll, Todd Imhof, and Cristiano Bierrenbach.
In 1996, the company launched a website to allow the sale and purchase of coins in online auctions. This allowed Heritage to grow its list of potential sellers and buyers. At the urging of Halperin, Heritage began expanding its business model to include collectibles beyond numismatics by first including auctions of comic books in 2001. The company launched a memorabilia department in 2003 and its first auction was valued at about $2 million. In the mid-2000s, Heritage entered the music, entertainment, and film memorabilia market. By April 2006, the auction house was holding its third biennial auction of collectibles that once belonged to famous actors, musicians, directors, and other filmmakers. The collections sold at the auctions included many props, set pieces, and apparel from the sets of notable films and television series in history as well as personal effects of several musical artists. In 2010, Heritage launched its luxury items division, which includes jewelry, handbags, and other accessories. In some instances, rare items from these auctions have sold for over two hundred thousand dollars. By 2013, the auction house was also auctioning modern and contemporary art including works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Joan Mitchell, and Edward Ruscha.
On June 1, 2020, as a cost-cutting measure, Heritage Auctions consolidated three Dallas-area locations to a new world headquarters in Irving, located at the northwest corner of West Airport Freeway and Valley View Lane near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The 160,000 square foot facility is located in the DFW Airport international trade zone and will house 450 of the company's 600 employees. The company also has offices in New York located on Park Avenue. Its New York operations are mostly geared towards the fine arts industry. Heritage has a West Coast location in Beverly Hills, California, located on Olympic Boulevard. In 2011, Heritage acquired Greg Martin Auctions in San Francisco, California, forming the auction house's division specializing in weapons and armament.
Heritage expanded operations by adding an office in Hong Kong in 2015. In spring 2017, the company formed a Florida branch with offices in Palm Beach. In January 2017, company opened an office in Chicago.
- In October 2011, Heritage auctioned the personal property and movie memorabilia of the actor John Wayne for $5.4 million. The beret he wore in The Green Berets fetched $179,250. The following month, a copy of Action Comics #1, previously owned by Nicolas Cage, sold for $2.16 million, beating the previous record price for the comic of $1.5 million.
- In December 2015, an auction brought in more than $3 million for memorabilia from Sylvester Stallone's personal collection.
- A baseball-themed print by American illustrator Norman Rockwell was sold by Heritage Auctions in August 2017 for $1.6 million. The work was a study of Rockwell's Tough Call.
- In a continuing series of auctions starting in 2018, Heritage Auctions is auctioning a collection of memorabilia from the estate of Neil Armstrong, who died in 2012. The event was the first ever auction of the astronaut's personal collection and is billed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon in 1969. About 3,000 items were up for auction and, as of October 2019, the auctions have brought in about $12 million.
- In January 2019, a rare 1943 Lincoln cent sold at Heritage auction for $204,000. The copper coin was created in error in 1943, when copper was meant to be reserved for the war effort. An original 1930 ink-on-paper drawing from the first Tintin comic book, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, was sold by Heritage Auctions in June 2019. On November 20, 2019, Blueberry Custard (1961) by Wayne Thiebaud sold at a Heritage auction for $3.225 million, the second highest price brought in for a piece by the artist from Sacramento, California. The next day a near-mint condition Marvel Comics #1 sold for $1.26 million, setting the record for the most expensive Marvel comic sold in a public auction.
- On December 13, 2020, a Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card sold for $1.29 million, becoming the most expensive hockey card sold at auction and the first to break the million-dollar barrier.
- A US $20 bill with a Del Monte sticker sold for $396,000 on January 5, 2021 becoming the most expensive error note sold.
- A near-mint copy of Batman #1 from 1940 sold on January 14, 2021, for $2.22 million, setting a world record for a Batman comic book and the second most expensive comic ever sold at auction.
- A Pokémon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box sold for a world record-setting $408,000 on January 17, 2021.
- On January 24, 2021, Heritage Auctions sold the world's most valuable gold coin, a 1787 New York-style Brasher Doubloon, for $9.36 million.
- A signed Michael Jordan card fetched $1.44 million on February 4, 2021, making it the most expensive Jordan card ever sold at auction.
- The Paramount Collection of world and ancient coins reached $41,941,592 on March 25–27, 2021, making it the most valuable world and ancient coins auction. The auction included a $2.28 million world record for the most expensive British coin ever sold at public auction.
- An original poster promoting a 1953 Hank Williams concert in Canton, Ohio on New Year's Day sold for a record $150,000 on May 1, 2021, beating out The Beatles as the world's most expensive concert poster ever sold at auction.
- The Joseph Christian Leyendecker painting Beat-up Boy, Football Hero, which appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, sold for a record $4.12 million on May 7, 2021. The previous world record for a J.C. Leyendecker original was set in December, when Sotheby's sold his 1930 work Carousel Ride for $516,100.
- On May 9, 2021, a game-worn jersey belonging to Michael Jordan from his sophomore season at the University of North Carolina was sold for $1.38 million, making it the most expensive Jordan jersey sold.
- An unopened copy of Nintendo's Super Mario 64 from 1996 sold at auction for $1.56 million on July 11, 2021, a new record for a video game. The previous record was an unopened copy of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda which sold only two days earlier for $870,000.
Controversies/ Legal Affairs
In 2009 Heritage Auctions was sued by former employee Gary Hendershott who alleged that the company engaged in fraud by using a shill bidder under the name "N.P. Gresham" to drive up bidding prices which violated anti-racketeering laws in the process. The lawsuit was later settled out of court, though James L. Halperin said in sworn testimony that "N.P. Gresham" did not exist before later admitting that they did.
In 2016 Heritage Auctions sued Christie's along with its subsidy Collectrium for copyright infringement claiming that Collectrium database employees signed up for multiple accounts and used data-scraping software to steal some three million listings over a period of two years. At the time, Collectrium was just bought by Christie's in 2015. In 2019 a judge ruled that Collectrium had to pay Heritage Auctions close to $1.8 million over the claims, which was a small fraction of the $49 million Heritage initially sought, dismissed Heritage's claims of trespassing, unfair competition, and civil conspiracy and also ruled that Collectrium was the only company found to have any liability.
In August 2021 YouTuber Karl Jobst released a video that claimed that Heritage auctions, along with the grading company Wata Games, had artificially created a collectable bubble in the sealed video game market outlining a series of conflict of interests between the two companies and also accused Heritage Auctions of engaging in fraudulent actions. In a statement to Video Games Chronicle released following the video's publication, Heritage Auctions denied engaging in any illegal or unethical practices. Wata Games also denied the claims made in the video.
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