How do sellers feel about selling at HA?
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In the recently released Felix comic podcast with Gene Park (THANK YOU!) - the issue of selling at auction was discussed and both folks agreed that the auctions went only 'ok'.  Now this contrasted with Gene's comment at the start of the podcast that pointed out how the market is hot and especially at HA.  

Hence this thread - did Felix and Gene have Ok results instead of steller results because we often look at the selling price with juice as buyers - instead of what the seller gets? Were there other factors? Or is their experience not the average.?  Personally I didn't get great results with them when I tried using them a while back. This put me inthe same boat as the guys on the podcast.  

Would love to hear thoughts and experiences from others who may have tried selling in the past couple years.

Edited by Panelfan1

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I think the reality is that not all OA gets a lot of love at auction.  If you've got something unique and highly desirable like Master Race or the Fritz the Cat cover or the first Wolverine page, I'm sure all of those consignors were over the moon at how those auctions went.  If you've got high quality mainstream art, most of that does well, with a greater chance of an upside surprise than a downside surprise (though, some % of that flops/bombs too, to be sure).  Everything else is pretty hit or miss...most of it probably ends up around where it should, but, there's plenty of downside potential as well (which is, sadly, often where a disproportionate amount of my consignments have ended up).  And, then, yeah - take out the auction fees and what you get paid often doesn't much look like the headline number.  I sold a cover a couple of years ago where the headline, all-in number was $20K and change...but, after fees, I only netted $17K and change.  For something I paid $25K for.  So, yeah, the fees make a big difference, especially when you're already not thrilled by the result. 

My private sales, on the other hand, have often gotten me very strong, even record prices.  Part of that is because I have often sold my better quality pieces privately - it's often not difficult to find a buyer for quality material directly (if you know a lot of people) and skip the auction block; I have used auction houses to help move less easy to sell material, which goes part of the way in explaining why selling privately has been much better for me than selling at auction.  Though, even the (few) quality mainstream pieces I have consigned to auction only managed to do "just OK" and nothing special.  Out of all the pieces I have ever consigned to any of the auction houses, literally only 1 piece exceeded my expectations.  And that was a mid-3 figure piece that managed to get high 3-figures, so...BFD.  None of the bigger pieces that I hoped might surprise to the upside ever did.  Meanwhile, I have had some really, really bad luck in the other direction, most notably a $13K (cost) piece where I took an 82% (!!) bath after fees.     

Another reason why I think private sales have worked better for me is that I'm able to work with buyers on payment terms.  I recently sold 5 fairly big ticket pieces to 5 separate collectors. Four out of the five asked for months (up to six) of deferred and/or time payments (only the smallest piece was paid for in full immediately).  And, also, for one of the 5 sales, it turned out to be a win-win because I got to avoid the uncertainty of the auction block (with the most certain of transaction fees) while the buyer doesn't have to pay sales tax to me as an individual seller (whereas he would at Heritage to get a similar example).  People just looking at the sales tax issue from the perspective of the buyer ("it doesn't matter to me because I just factor it into my all-in bid") don't seem to realize that it's another hand taking a piece from a fixed pie.  It will impact what you net if you sell through an auction house, which eventually will probably factor into what people are willing to pay for the art in the first place, as right now most people are probably only factoring in the cut the states are taking on the way in and not on the way out. 2c 

None of which is to say that people shouldn't use auction houses, or that all of the major ones in our hobby haven't done a ton of good in developing this market, or that other people haven't done fabulously well consigning their material at auction (certainly some of the craziest prices we've ever seen in the hobby could only have been achieved at auction, with the legitimacy it bestows). I'm just saying that, for me, personally, I've had much better success selling privately (and a big part of that is selection bias as described above). 

Edited by delekkerste

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I have done very well with Heritage to date. Since i consign so much material over a wide range of genres and price points, i find they generally sluice it to the right auction/set. Just have to go in knowing realistic market prices on what your consigning before hand, and then compare to when it comes out. If you have some good and interesting pieces mixed in, it should average out to within 5% plus or minus market (at least in my experience).

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I’ve lost every time I’ve sold with heritage.....maybe average 20-25%.....I’ve done much better selling on my own. That said I have a few friends that have done very well.

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I have been pleased with Heritage.  Nothing knocked out of the park, but I felt my consignments were well presented in a major marketplace.  I like the comfort factor of them handling the money end of the transaction.  I have used them for original comic art, and rare (non-comic) books.

David

Edited by aokartman

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As far as dealing with the auction houses themselves, that has gone quite well. Every one has been very professional and helpful and flexible with me so no complaints there.  As for the actual auctions themselves, that is another story. While it can be debated as to the quality of the material I have submitted to them, in my mind, in general, the pieces have all been at least respectable and probably deserved better fates. If I was not able to negotiate waiving the BP with heritage, I would really get hammered  but even with that, my results, in  my mind, are at least 15-20% below expectation, in general. I have also done much better in private deals.  I am constantly amazed at the prices some pieces get (which mine don't)

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After a few decent results with HA, I'm not sure I can justify the fees moving forward. Lopping off almost 40% from what the buyer handed over isn't offset by the great marketing and nice website.

And these days, I think most of the same buyers have eyes on Comic Link, ComicConnect, and even ebay*. So maybe the marketing is kind of a wash.

 

*ebay caps their seller's fees at $750. So >$7500 pieces that will get good word of mouth regardless might be better off there?

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11 minutes ago, BCarter27 said:

After a few decent results with HA, I'm not sure I can justify the fees moving forward. Lopping off almost 40% from what the buyer handed over isn't offset by the great marketing and nice website.

And these days, I think most of the same buyers have eyes on Comic Link, ComicConnect, and even ebay*. So maybe the marketing is kind of a wash.

 

*ebay caps their seller's fees at $750. So >$7500 pieces that will get good word of mouth regardless might be better off there?

My concern about eBay would be more about getting scammed.  I envision a nightmare scenario where I send the art, they claim it's fake, send it back, get a refund and I'm returned a crayon picture.  And eBay well almost always side with the buyer.

The most expensive thing I've ever sold in eBay was $4k and I was scared through the whole process.

Edited by Pete Marino

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17 minutes ago, Pete Marino said:

My concern about eBay would be more about getting scammed.  I envision a nightmare scenario where I send the art, they claim it's fake, send it back, get a refund and I'm returned a crayon picture.  And eBay well almost always side with the buyer.

The most expensive thing I've ever sold in eBay was $4k and I was scared through the whole process.

Definitely a good point. One which probably leads me back to ComicConnect and Comic Link.

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30 minutes ago, Pete Marino said:

My concern about eBay would be more about getting scammed.  I envision a nightmare scenario where I send the art, they claim it's fake, send it back, get a refund and I'm returned a crayon picture.  And eBay well almost always side with the buyer.

The most expensive thing I've ever sold in eBay was $4k and I was scared through the whole process.

Am out 900 dollars from an ebay Global Shipping Program scam. Avoid at all costs. The scam was: buy 4 books, say only 2 were in the box, ask for a refund, return paperback copies of said books worth nothing. Its a longer story than that but eBay really did me wrong. 

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10 minutes ago, cstojano said:

Am out 900 dollars from an ebay Global Shipping Program scam. Avoid at all costs. The scam was: buy 4 books, say only 2 were in the box, ask for a refund, return paperback copies of said books worth nothing. Its a longer story than that but eBay really did me wrong. 

that stinks but seems to me that same scam could be done on a domestic ebay sale? 

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I would never sell anything on eBay again for the reasons the posts above describe. 

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5 hours ago, suspense39 said:

I’ve lost every time I’ve sold with heritage.....maybe average 20-25%.....

Yikes! :eek:

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1 hour ago, Pete Marino said:

My concern about eBay would be more about getting scammed.  I envision a nightmare scenario where I send the art, they claim it's fake, send it back, get a refund and I'm returned a crayon picture.  And eBay well almost always side with the buyer.

The most expensive thing I've ever sold in eBay was $4k and I was scared through the whole process.

I sold a $1000 hand bag to a person in Guam. I used to live on the Ebay edge!

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I sold some comics and art w Heritage. It took 4 months total for items to be listed, sold and finally paid out. I got about 50% of what I conservatively thought I would get. For that I could of went to Snyder and got 60% of the total in cash (knowing him prob check) but either way paid the same day. 

Now with sales tax and HA still substantially wetting their beak on both sides, there is no meat left on the bone. 

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5 minutes ago, dirtymartini1 said:

It took 4 months total

Yeah, I forgot to mention the time lag. About 3 months to see your money from one of the auction houses.

But auction versus private sales is all about creating an event and a ticking clock to get people off their duffs to pull the trigger.

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11 hours ago, MIL0S said:

that stinks but seems to me that same scam could be done on a domestic ebay sale? 

It could, but the key is having to pay for return shipping. Even if you know the buyer is a scammer eBay insists you follow their procedure. In my case that entailed sending via paypal 100 additional dollars for return shipping from Australia. That's right. Shipping through their Global Shipping Program means if the buyer files a Not as Described claim you as the seller have to pay for the item to be shipped back from some foreign country, at great expense. Of course in my case I knew the guy would send a cheap copy back because he had done the same to another collector that I was in contact with. I refused, eBay sided with him, he kept the money and the books. To top it off, because I did not follow eBay's rules they kept their 90 dollar commission! Can you believe it? They actually told me they do that to ensure sellers play by their rules.   The benefit of domestic sales is the real possibility of legal action being taken. Keep in mind I am an 580 feedback, no negatives EVER seller with them and they sided with a 61 feedback buyer that is now NO Longer Registered, for reasons they cannot disclose.

Edited by cstojano

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13 hours ago, cstojano said:

It could, but the key is having to pay for return shipping. Even if you know the buyer is a scammer eBay insists you follow their procedure. In my case that entailed sending via paypal 100 additional dollars for return shipping from Australia. That's right. Shipping through their Global Shipping Program means if the buyer files a Not as Described claim you as the seller have to pay for the item to be shipped back from some foreign country, at great expense. Of course in my case I knew the guy would send a cheap copy back because he had done the same to another collector that I was in contact with. I refused, eBay sided with him, he kept the money and the books. To top it off, because I did not follow eBay's rules they kept their 90 dollar commission! Can you believe it? They actually told me they do that to ensure sellers play by their rules.   The benefit of domestic sales is the real possibility of legal action being taken. Keep in mind I am an 580 feedback, no negatives EVER seller with them and they sided with a 61 feedback buyer that is now NO Longer Registered, for reasons they cannot disclose.

Horrible story! Sorry to hear that. I’ve sold on eBay, OA in the thousands, and never had a problem.....but I do sweat it out until the buyer receives the item and leaves positive feedback. 

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12 minutes ago, suspense39 said:

Horrible story! Sorry to hear that. I’ve sold on eBay, OA in the thousands, and never had a problem.....but I do sweat it out until the buyer receives the item and leaves positive feedback. 

Yup me too. Just a matter of time and bad luck I suppose. 

 

On the topic at hand, I am surprised at how much some relatively cheap items go for that one could buy on eBay as a buy it now for cheaper. Sometimes I think people just don't know where to look. 

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Both eBay and PayPal are riddled with scams which almost always side with the scammer. Yuck. 

Not a fan of auctions personally. CAF messaging for the win.

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