Heritage Auctions posts record sales numbers

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April 5, 2018 – Heritage Auctions announced annual sales of more than $815 million in 2017, reflecting record increases across several departments and a 26 percent increase in online sales. 

“Although U.S. Coin sales declined, 2017 was a tremendous year for expansion, profitability and growth across almost every other category,” said Heritage Co-Chairman James Halperin. “We are the world’s market leader in several fast-growing collectibles categories, and the year’s extraordinary market share gain in World & Ancient Coins is strengthening our plans for global expansion.”

The new HA office in Chicago.

Increasing access to the firm’s 40 collecting categories, Heritage opened an office in Chicago and an office and gallery space in London, joining Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong in the firm’s international footprint. Auctions have originated in Hong Kong since 2015, and the firm will hold its first European Comics & Comic Art auction. 

Sales of U.S. Coins remain the firm’s largest category, with 2017 auction totals exceeding $169 million, outselling all other numismatic auction houses combined, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild 2017 annual survey. High-profile sales in World & Ancient Coins – one of the auction house’s fastest-growing categories – surpassed $49 million, the category’s second-best year ever. 

Fast-growing collectibles categories posted year-over-year revenue increases while setting several world records, including: 

  • Heritage’s Sports Collectibles department cleared $100 million in total annual sales, setting a world record for the trade. Record sales include $2 million for Jackie Robinson’s 1947 Game-Worn Brooklyn Dodgers Rookie “Color Barrier” Jersey and $1.68 million for Norman Rockwell’s 1948 original study for Tough Call, a world record for the famed artist. 
  • Annual sales of comic books & comic art and animation art surpassed $48.2 million, a new ceiling for the trade and outselling all other auction competitors combined. The department set world records for the most valuable pieces of American comic art with the $717,000 sale of Robert Crumb’s original cover art for Fritz the Cat and the most valuable piece of 21st-century comic art when Joshua Middleton’s NYX #3 cover and concept art hammered for $71,700.
  • Fine and rare wine sales recorded its best year to date, surpassing $14.1 million – a 29 percent increase. The department made market history when it sold one of the most expensive wine lots of the year for $152,500.
  • Patrick Nagel’s Bold, circa 1980s, sold for a staggering $200,000, shattering the previous world auction record of $161,000 – one of many fine art auction records set in 2017. 
  • Auctions of vintage posters and movie posters exceeded $10 million in 2017 to lead the hobby, while setting a world record for the most valuable movie poster ever sold at auction when a 1931 one sheet from Dracula sold for $525,800.

High-growth strategies included: 

  • Online sales surging to an industry-leading $438 million in 2017, representing 53.7 percent of the firm’s total sales and eclipsing 2016’s sales by 26 percent.
  • A significant expansion of its San Francisco office to accommodate its growing staff and services. The new office will allow Heritage San Francisco to hold larger exhibitions of fine art by well-known artists as well as frequently changing displays.
  • Making history as the first major house in decades to host an auction of Modern & Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The sale established the firm’s new presence in the Los Angeles art community and in the broader art market while setting world records for artists Paul Jenkins and Ray Johnson.
  • The first time a major international auction house offered collectible sneakers, a bold move that resulted in a world record bid of $52,500 for a pair of Nike Air Mag self-lacing sneakers.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

You can visit the Heritage website here.

This video shows last year’s highlights from HA auctions around the world.

One of the best stories of 2017 was a member of the Heritage staff helping to identify stolen coins.