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Auction House Won't Release Prices Realized? What Do You Think?

 
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Valued Member
236 Posts
Posted 08/13/2020   3:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add canyoneer to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I got a mail bid auction catalog from Sandafayre today. What was kind of odd is that it for an auction that ended June 2nd ... a bit late but this probably because it came from the UK. Anyway, there were a couple of lots that I would have been interested in so I went to their website see what they went for. Couldn't see it online so I emailed them - turns out they don't publish prices realized at all (unless you had bid on that particular item). The reason was:


Quote:
We do not issue a 'prices realised' list or otherwise reveal the final realisation of any lot without the buyers consent unless you bid on the lot yourself and failed to win it. We are happy to ask for the buyers permission on your behalf should you occasionally require this information on a lot that you didn't bid on.

The main reason for this is that many collectors, especially exhibitors do not want other collectors to know how much they paid for a particular item. Also we have many dealer clients who do not wish for this information to become public knowledge for obvious commercial reasons.


I guess I had never run across this before. What are your thoughts?
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Posted 08/13/2020   4:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Sandafayre has always been like this and I do not care for it. On the other hand what difference does it make given that if they did publish prices realized you really have no way of knowing if it is true and accurate. It is not live bidding. Only "book" bids.
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Posted 08/13/2020   4:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I can understand why exhibitors might not want others to know what they paid for something. But does this explanation wash if the person who won the lot is not revealed? I think it is in the general interest of the hobby for realized prices to be published, but not the names of the winning bidder. Sure, under the right circumstances someone could "put 2 and 2 together" and surmise that an exhibitor of a particular item was the winning bidder in a particular auction. But would many go to the trouble? Seems like this would be a problem only in relation to unique items, otherwise what's to stop an exhibitor from simply denying that the piece won in a particular auction is the same as the piece being exhibited?

But the auction house is free to do business the way that makes the most sense to it, not to others.
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United States
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Posted 08/13/2020   7:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Sure, under the right circumstances someone could "put 2 and 2 together" and surmise that an exhibitor of a particular item was the winning bidder in a particular auction.

Even if one were to see an ex-Sandafayre lot in someone's exhibit, who's to say that the lot wasn't bought from Sandafayre, then re-sold to the exhibitor? Without Sandafayre stating who bought the lot, you really cannot be sure, unless the buyer tells you. And I am not aware of any auction house that lists the buyers of their lots.

Sandafayre recycles loads of lots. Clearly, the great majority are their own property. I see the same lots in sale after sale. I suspect they don't want anyone to know what their 'sell' price is, in the hopes that someone (or, a few 'someones') will bid above that, not knowing any better. Also, if they publish an honest PR list, it would indicate the extent to which some things did NOT sell, by omission from the list. Whatever their reasons, I am sure they are creating MORE work for themselves by fending off all the inquiries. Funny thing is, the reasons that we (the stamp collecting public) may want to see their PR's (to learn what is hot/not, to 'gauge' the stamp market, etc) is available from many other sources anyway (maybe not THEIR PR's, but PR's for similar lots at other companies). FWIW, I do not buy from them.
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Posted 08/13/2020   7:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Years ago I used to buy from Sandafayre all of the time. Back then you had to bid at least 70% of the estimate/suggested bid in order to be in play and I would "win" every lot without fail. They changed it to 75% at some point. The thing was that when the BP was applied and the shipping costs you always ended up almost exactly at what the full estimate was. I would also note that a great number of lots would show up again, just not in the very next sale or two or even three, at the same estimate. Eventually the lots would drop off of the radar and you never really knew if they were won by a bidder or sold elsewhere.

I stopped dealing with Sandafayre after a few lots were very creatively described and I ended up with boxes of dumpster fodder that had been shipped across the pond at great expense.
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Canada
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Posted 08/13/2020   8:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
An odd and unconvincing rationale. Their business model sounds very similar to Vance here in Canada (e.g. stock largely owned lots, recycling of lots every second/third sale, buying of lots from other auction houses and reselling). But in Vance's case, I recall seeing their PR posted on SAN.
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Posted 08/13/2020   8:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
What Do You Think?


Perhaps you are looking for confirmation, this is a irritating experience.
Begin to trust your gut instincts.
The world of Philately offers you a HUGE pool of opportunity, there are endless ways of securing stamps elsewhere.
Support the avenues that you feel comfortable with, and give you excellent results.
No need to ponder over bad experiences, move and get on with it.

I no longer use eBay as a primary, not because I hate it, just rarely get satisfied with results, YET I do get an email from several vendors whom use eBay, and when they arise, I do bid, comfortable in the knowledge,
I'll get good service and friendly rapport.

If Sandfayre iritates you thus, ditch and move on and enjoy a peaceful state of mind.



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United States
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Posted 08/13/2020   9:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are a handful of companies on SAN that do not post PR's. To my eye, I see lots of recycled lots from these companies, which implies to me that they are house-owned lots. My sense is that these companies feel that they want to keep this info close to the vest. For what precise reason, I don't know. Also, there are a few companies that have PR's, but they don't post them to SAN.

30 years ago, I worked for a few auction houses that had both public auctions and mail bid sales. In all cases, we published PR's for the public auctions, but not for the mail bid sales. I asked my bosses why this was, and I never got a clear answer - something along the lines of, "Well, that's just the way it is and it has always been that way." The public auctions were probably 80% consignor-owned material, including many dealer-consignors (20% house-owned), while the mail bid sales were 100% house-owned.

Although I don't know for sure, I suspect the reasoning is along the lines of "It's none of your business", whereas in a public auction, with outside consignors, there may be a regulation requiring disclosure. Perhaps in Sandafayre's case, the % of house-owned material is high enough that they are not REQUIRED to provide PR's, and they choose not to. In Vance's case (similar business model, which is debatable but let's say it is true for the sake of this convo) perhaps they simply CHOOSE TO publish PR's. I have less goodwill towards a company that doesn't release PR's than one that does - it smacks of something being hidden - so I have done more business with Vance than with Sandafayre. Even if it is true that it is "none of my business", I still feel slighted if I am told so by one company and not by another, with their practices. I don't know the answer, but my personal interpretation is along the lines of "It's none of your business". Of course, you are free to interpret any way you care to - you only need to satisfy your paradigm of how the stamp world works.
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United States
232 Posts
Posted 08/14/2020   06:32 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Germania to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the December 1987 issue of American Philatelist Herman Herst wrote an article on the conduct of auctions. An excerpt from that article is attached explaining why PR is desirable.



This scenario cannot happen with photographed lots showing stamps with unique characteristics. But modern sets, FDC's, souvenir sheets ... quite possible.
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Posted 08/14/2020   07:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No doubt there are different business models and reasons for the lack of transparency. Daniel Kelleher Auctions publishes PR's but their subsidiary Daniel Kelleher-Michael Rogers does not.
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236 Posts
Posted 08/14/2020   10:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add canyoneer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
All great points. I ended up just telling them to remove from their mailing list. When there's a higher end stamp that is on my must have list I'll scour auction sites to see what I should be prepared to pay for something in the condition I am interested in. If I consigned or bought something from an auction house, I could care less if the PR was published (as long as it didn't have my name on it). IMO, not publishing PRs is for the advantage of the auction house and not to protect sellers and buyers.

Imagine if eBay suddenly decided to remove the "sold" filter on their search engine. On a side issue, I am always surprised the marked difference between eBay "auction" prices realized and "buy it now" listings.
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Posted 08/14/2020   10:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think best said and agree with MOOTERMUTT987 on his 7:18 post . Gives a real look at the auction business .

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