Mastro Auctions' 13-year run has ended with its assets being acquired by a group of top level employees who have formed a new company.
Mastro Auctions, responsible for the sale of over $250 million in sales since its inception in 1996, has ceased operations.
The suburban Chicago company's assets have been taken over by a newly formed sports and Americana auction house, headed by former Mastro President and Chief Operating Officer Doug Allen, Vice President Ron Oser and Logistics and Auction Manager Mark Theotikos. The new company will be called Legendary Auctions.
Long-time collector/dealer Bill Mastro, who started Mastro Auctions in 1996 and served as Chairman and CEO, is leaving the hobby, according to a press release issued Tuesday night on behalf of Legendary Auctions.
"Circumstances make it clear to me that the business needs to move in a different direction at this time," Mastro stated in the release. "Legendary Auctions is a positive step that allows everyone to be taken care of, especially our customers who have been so loyal. I am looking forward to taking some time off for now, and wish Legendary Auctions only the best as they move forward."
Legendary Auctions spokesperson Julie Stoklosa told Sports Collectors Daily that Mastro would make no further comment.
Brian Marren, who had been Vice President of Acquisitions for Mastro Auctions, has also left the company.
While Legendary Auctions has acquired undisclosed assets belonging to Mastro, they have not purchased the legal entity. Legendary Auctions will be based in Lansing, IL and have an East Coast consignment presence in the Philadelphia area. Mastro Auctions' website was still active as of late Tuesday night. The home page of Legendary's website stated it was still under construction.
It's apparent one of the assets acquired by Legendary was Mastro's valuable and expansive catalog mailing list. Legendary says all current registered bidders in Mastro Auctions will be automatically transferred to Legendary Auctions and the current catalog subscriptions will be honored.
Mastro had planned an auction for April, and a sale will indeed take place, but under the Legendary name. Allen says his new company will still focus on mainstream vintage sports memorabilia and Americana.
Legendary Auctions is also guaranteeing that there will be no in-house bidding in the first sale under its management team. "The principals employed by Legendary Auctions will put their own collecting interests aside and concentrate solely on providing opportunities for our customers," said Allen. "There will be no mixing of business and pleasure at Legendary Auctions in terms of our own collecting pursuits. This will really be all about our customers."
Five auctions will take place annually including four phone/internet events and one live auction during the summer. Bidding in the 2009 auction will begin Monday, April 20 and conclude on Wednesday and Thursday, April 29 and 30.
"In moving forward, we recognize the need to take stock of what has been so successful in the past," Allen said in the release. "At its core, this has always been a relationship driven business. Legendary Auctions will be a customer-centric operation at every level."