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Chapter VII: Purchasing at Auction

Bidding at auction should be left to those with some experience in the hobby. Too many collectors have left this hobby because of bad experiences with some auctions. The main problem is most see an item they would like to add to their collection and spend more time reading the item description than the rules of the sale. Study the Rules, most were written by lawyers. Especially pay attention to how much is the Buyer’s Premium. Many bidders don’t realize this amount will be added to your highest bid. Some of these premiums exceed a whopping 20%.

Most importantly read and reread the section on “Guarantees” or “Return Policy.” If your read “Sold as Is” or “Returns Must Be Made in 30 Days”.... it’s best to run the other way. This statement is common as most auction houses are well aware it’s nearly impossible for a beginning collector to return anything within thirty days after the sale. By the time you are notified you are the winning bidder, get your invoice, send your check which they will wait several days for it to clear, take a few days or so to get the item shipped and then a few days or more spent with the carrier and the 30 days are gone! You have no time to get a second opinion and ship the item back to the auction house.

A handful of auction houses are left that will tell you each item comes with a COA from an authenticating company. They will tell you that the authenticator (which they hire) said it was good so they will sell the autograph. No refunds! Many auction houses use these 3rd party authenticating companies as a scapegoat. I once proved to possibly the largest sports auction house in the industry who also sells historical items that their authenticating company authenticated the wrong person. The lame response from the head of the auction house was “I am not getting into a duel of experts.” Lucky for our industry he is no longer in our business and is being investigated by federal authorities. Everyone can do business anyway they choose but it is in your best interests to deal with auction house who will guarantee what they sell, usually without a time limit. There are still a few professional autograph auctions who do business this way.

Chapter VIII: Purchasing on eBay (Continued)