Archive for AHT’s Headline News
If you are reading this, thank a teacher. If you are reading this in English, thank a soldier.
We would like to take a moment to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of not only our great nation, the United States of America, but in defense of other countries as well. Countries that were not able to defend themselves. There are no words we can write, no deeds we can perform, to properly honor such bravery. We are definitely the land of the free, BECAUSE of the brave.
Here is the oath taken by all soldiers:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Here is an excerpt from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech:
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”
That pretty much says it all for me.
GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and Audie Murphy. If you don’t know who Audie Murphy is, shame on you.
05/10/2012 Written by Anne Benedetto
The Florida Auctioneers Association’s Summer Convention is being held this June 14, 2012 and June 15, 2012. For further information and a registration form, click here. Telephone number is 321-267-8563 and fax number is 321-383-3147.
Munch’s “The Scream,” the only one that was still privately owned, sold at Sotheby’s Auction on May 2nd for a record price of $120 million dollars. I would have to say that calling this a “record price” is like calling a 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe “just a car.” It’s not just a “record price,” it’s an astonishingly insane record price!
Having owned my own auction house, I try to act sophisticated when it comes to some of these, shall we say, absurdities. But even I can’t contain my own scream at the mind-blowing final results of this single offering.
It is interesting to note that this one item sold for more money than what Christie’s entire auction realized just the night before. Prior to Sotheby’s selling what is one of the four Scream versions done by Edvard Munch, the record for a single piece of art was $106.5 million; the price for Picasso’s, “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.” That record was set in 2010.
Sotheby’s take for this little service they provided to the previous owner? $12.9 million. The addition of this painting helped to secure the biggest one time auction total for Sotheby’s – $330 million. Depending on their buyer’s premium percentage, not to be confused with consignor commission rates, they may have made themselves $33 million in just the buyer’s premium alone.
As I sit here typing this, I’m eating a few sour grapes. Can’t be helped. Mamma mia! In all the years I was in business, my gross receipts barely surpassed what Sotheby’s collected on just this one item. It’s enough to make me, well, scream.
The guess, right or wrong, is that this pastel version is going to Qatar for a museum currently being built. The other pastel and the two versions that are done in oil are already in museums.
05/04/2012 by Anne Benedetto
This is a customer alert for one of our patrons. His name is Donald Stuart and he recently purchased our $10 Guide to Selling at Live Auctions. Mr. Stuart paid for his guide earlier this month and I emailed it to him right after he made the purchase.
I received another email from him about a week later asking when I would be sending the guide. He is a very nice man and I feel very badly that he has not yet received it, worse yet that he thinks I have not yet sent it.
I assume that his spam filters are not letting my emails through to his mailbox. I have tried to find another way to contact him but he has no address or phone number on file at Paypal. I am hoping that he will come here and see this message. If so, Donald, please email me your phone number so I can help you get the Guide onto your hard drive.
Please see previous posts concerning J C Penny and the auction industry.
I don’t think J C Penny is going to do anything about their TV ad with the auctioneer. The NAA (National Auctioneers Association) did receive a reply from Penny’s CEO. It was the same reply I received from Mr. No Name at Penny’s. There was no mention of discontinuing the ad, but at least they apologized for any offense they may have caused thousands of auctioneers and auction house owners all across the country.
Although now that I think about it, I have not seen that ad on the air for a few days now. So…who knows. Maybe they decided to do the right thing after all.
03/06/2012 by Anne Benedetto
Please see my article below titled, “J C Penny Uses the Auction Industry as a Sales Gimmick,” dated February 26, 2012.
Today I received a response to my email. It states:
“Our ‘auctioneer’ ad is part of our campaign to introduce consumers to our new ‘Fair and Square’ pricing strategy. Our new pricing strategy aims to put an end to the frustration many consumers have with today’s endless retail promotions. The ad is in no way meant to portray the auctioneer profession in a negative manner and we apologize for any offense we may have caused.”
Huh? How does showing an auctioneer selling an item via descending bids help stop anyone’s frustration with endless retail promotions? It doesn’t. I find this response to be unsatisfactory. I’m sure the other people in the, “Auctioneer profession,” who complained about this ad all got this same reply. I can only assume that I am not alone in my dissatisfaction.
I was further disappointed to see that the email I received was not even signed by anyone. I did write back asking for further clarification on their reasoning for running such an advertisement. I’ll keep you posted.
02/29/2012 by Anne Benedetto
Perhaps you have seen JC Penny’s latest advertisement on television. The star of the commercial is an auctioneer, or maybe he is just someone who can simulate a good auction chant. This guy, whoever he is, is being used to make all auctioneers and auction companies look like they are less than reputable. The caption of this ad is, “No More Pricing Games.”
The auction business is a $250,000 billion dollar industry. Thousands of auction houses throughout the country have been open for 10 years or longer, many for decades. If they were not on the up and up they would no longer be in business. Trust me on this. Auction houses rely heavily on word of mouth – it can make or break them. When it comes to an auctioneer, his reputation is everything. If negative rumors start to fly about an auction house or an auctioneer, it’s all over but the crying.
Let’s talk about these so called pricing games. Part of this ad campaign by JC Penny is a new logo called “Fair and Square.” Oh yeah? Whats fair and square about a company, any company, pricing its merchandise on a mark-up formula that is designed to support what might or might not be an exaggerated overhead? Shouldn’t we consider the auction industry to be more “Fair and Square?” After all, they allow the audience to determine the real fair market value of an item through good old fashioned competition.
Maybe everyone should take another look at exactly what constitutes a pricing game.
The National Auctioneers Association sent Penny’s a letter on February 7, 2012 requesting they discontinue this ad. Many individuals in the auction industry have sent similar letters and emails. I sent one myself. I have yet to hear back from them.
02/26/2012 by Anne Benedetto
Mamma Mia! Who would have thought? Burchard Galleries in St. Petersburg, Florida just sold a rare Rembrandt Bugatti bronze elephant at their February 19th, 2012 auction. (See my previous news item posted on February 09, 2012).
Other hard to come by Bugatti sculptures have sold at auction for up to or just over $2M. Burchard’s estimate on this piece was $300,000 – $500,000. I have to say I was pretty shocked when it was hammered down at only $170,000!
Burchard Galleries is a high end house that can pull big money out of its audiences, both on the floor and on www.liveauctioneers.com. Although it received the proper press coverage, and was advertised in multiple venues, this valuable bronze fell way short of its mark.
Many may speculate over what might have transpired here but, in reality, that’s the auction business. You just never know what is going to, or not going to, happen. All I can say is someone sure got a hell of a deal.
02/21/2012 by Anne Benedetto
What does Whitney Houston’s untimely death have to do with the auction business, you ask? Absolutely nothing – other than I may have auctioned off some Whitney Houston memorabilia at one time or another. Even though this is not relative to collectibles, antiques or auctions, I would like to comment on a story that will most assuredly make the front page of newspapers all over the world today.
How very sad for her family, especially her daughter, and all of her loyal fans. Another tragedy born of celebrity. It’s as simple as, “every rose has its thorn.” In other words, what price fame? A little while ago, I read some of the posts being left all over the Internet by many of Whitney’s followers. A number of them blame Bobby Brown for ruining her life. I felt compelled to reply to a few, although I am sure my responses will not be well received. We tend to wear rose colored glasses when reflecting upon our heroes.
Bobby Brown didn’t ruin her life. Unfortunately, she did that to herself. She willingly dated him, willingly married him, willingly did drugs and willingly put up with whatever “abuse” he dealt her. I know I am oversimplifying but, at her age, she should have been able to, “Just say no.”
I have more sympathy for teenagers who become drug addicts because they are submitting to peer pressure. Immaturity deserves a modicum of consideration. But…the most famous singer in the world, who had what appeared to be a grounded family behind her, a religious background, beauty and a fortune laid at her feet by millions of adoring fans — a modicum of consideration when it comes to drugs? Not so much.
Don’t misunderstand. I liked her very much. I liked every song she ever did. I liked her movies. However, I did not like her comeback interview with Oprah Winfrey. I watched her blame everyone and everything for what happened to her. I changed my opinion of her that day. Had she sucked it up, put the blame where it belonged and asked people to please give her a second chance, I would have had a never ending supply of respect for her. What happened to her was her own doing. Not quite the same as Patricia Neal, for example, who battled her way back from a stroke so severe it should have killed her. She didn’t bring that on herself and she didn’t blame anyone for it.
Whitney Houston will be missed immeasurably by millions who looked up to her as their hero. Hero worship for me has always been reserved for people like Audie Murphy. Looking upon Mr. Murphy as a hero has nothing to do with all the movies he made, save one. The one where he played himself. It was titled, “To Hell and Back,” and was the story of his military service in WWII.
It’s strange how some things work out. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died hours apart on the very same day – the Fourth of July. Rather eery, wouldn’t you say?
Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier of all time. He received every medal for valor that the United States had to offer, including the Medal of Honor, as well as several medals from France. He died in 1971 at the age of 45 in a plane crash. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and his is one of the three most visited grave sites. His plane crashed on Memorial Day weekend. All the more eery.
My heart goes out to Whitney Houston’s daughter. Let’s hope she can live somewhere other than with her irresponsible father, Bobby Brown. When his time comes, you can bet he won’t be dying on the Fourth of July or Memorial Day.
02/12/2012 by Anne Benedetto