Heritage Auctions closed 2012 with more than $20 million in sales. Overall, the Dallas-based collectible auctioneer says it experienced its fourth straight year of record sales in 2012: more than $860 million, the highest tally yet for the world’s third largest auction house and largest auctioneer of high-end collectibles. Markets ranging from U.S. Coins, Comics and Comic Art and Historical Americana showed strong gains as did sales of Western Art, which the company says more than tripled over last year.
In early August, with a story that set national media ablaze, Heritage offered a set of baseball cards from 1910 popularly referred to as the “Black Swamp Find.” Found in an attic in Defiance, Ohio, the first 71 cards offered brought $785,445.
Among the highlights of the year was also the May auction of the baseball that rolled between the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series, allowing the New York Mets to win in the 10th inning. The ball realized $418,250.
Private treaty transactions proved quite important for the year to the sports category, with more than $1 million realized, led by a 1923 Lou Gehrig game-used bat, which brought $625,000, and a 1965 Sandy Koufax game-worn jersey that sold for $225,000.
U.S. Coins remains the core of Heritage’s business with a record $218.68 million in sales in 2012, including $174.51 million sold during Signature Auctions. World and Ancient coin sales have seen stunning growth over the last four years and increased 40% to $37.2 million last year – a record achievement bolstered by growth across the board.
Auction sales in fine art grew 20% in 2012 to exceed $45.5 million – the category’s best year ever. Sales of Western and Texas Art more than tripled in 2012 with $10.4 million in total sales. Likewise, Heritage’s antiques and decorative arts sales grew 32% to exceed $7.27 million.
Its growing comic book and comic art department saw its fourth record year in a row with sales exceeding $37 million, including Weekly Comic Internet-only auctions which realized $7.4 million – a new record for the subset and a 17% increase over 2011. Heritage’s Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auctions recorded $27.98 million in sales, highlighted by the $657,250 sale of Todd McFarlane’s original cover from The Amazing Spider-Man #328 and the first Calvin and Hobbes Sunday comic strip ever sold at auction, which brought $204,150, as well as by the company’s August auction, which topped $10.4 million to stand as the highest grossing comic auction ever.
“Diversification has been key to our success,” Ivy said. “We’re proud to offer Heritage as a one-stop trusted platform for selling diversified, high value collections and estates.”
Heritage says it also was a record year for sales of rare books and manuscripts, with $7.27 million, led by growth in Weekly Internet Rare Books auctions.