News-Antique.com - Oct 25,2010 - Dallas, TX -- On April 1, 2009, Heritage Auction Galleries (HA.com) started testing a new service designed to unite successful bidders from earlier Heritage auctions with eager new buyers. Here is an update, with some interesting statistics.
The "Make Offer to Owner" (MOtO) feature, has been available for the past 18 months, in beta-test mode, on Heritage's Permanent Auction Archive at HA.com. Eventually, almost anything the firm has sold since its inception will be available for offers, which represents a healthy selection given the 2.5 million items sold by Heritage to date, with hundreds of thousands of additional items added every year. Presently, only 288,000 past lots, exclusively from Heritage’s Comic Books and Rare Coins categories, have the feature.
“MOtO has proven a resounding success, already generating revenues well into seven figures, with no advertising and only about one-tenth of the features and 12% of the inventory we plan to have soon,” said Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of the Board of Heritage. “Today, any HA.com member interested in a qualified MOtO auction lot from a past Heritage Coin or Comics auction can anonymously offer the current owner a profit. Owners may set a fixed price minimum, or opt out completely from receiving offers."
Among the notable sales to date is the Flash Comics #1 (1940) which sold earlier this year for $450,000. The seller had originally won the lot for $273,125 about four years earlier.
To date, the average MOtO transaction has been at a 59% increase over the previous auction sale. Some have sold for as much as five times the amount of the previous sale. For example, a Superboy #147 CGC 9.6, originally sold for $465, resold for $2,500 to an eager collector; a comic art page from The Secret of Yafata’s Moustache by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby originally sold for $1493.75 resold for $4300, and an 1911-D $2 ½ NGC AU58, originally sold for $1,840, resold for $5,400.
Owing to the heavy demand for the feature, Heritage is rolling out a number of improvements, most notably adding lots with an owner-set price to the “Buy Now” section of the website so that users can browse MOtO items alongside the current auction and inventory items that are available for purchase.
Other upcoming improvements will make the previous offer history more transparent, offer more flexibility for current owners when setting their own price, and making it easier for prospective buyers to compare these past lots to similar items currently for sale.
“No other auction firm has ever offered a free, fully searchable database with prices realized for every item they’ve ever offered, but we wanted to take this a step further with MOtO,” Halperin said. “We know how frustrating it can be for a collector to learn of a past sale of a personal ‘holy grail’ with no way to reach the current owner of the item. Also, many collectors have items that they wouldn’t part with under normal circumstances, but would sell if an unusually strong offer came