Online Sales Surge to $41 Million in One Week at Heritage Auctions Amid Pandemic Concerns

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Thousands of bidders flock to world’s leading online auction house to buy rare coins, illustration and modern & contemporary art

Source: Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2019
Source: Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2019

DALLAS, Texas (May 1, 2020) – More than 16,000 online bidders proved a global pandemic could not stop the action at 23 auction sessions held April 20-27 as Heritage Auctions brought in more than $41 million across multiple categories.

Spring auctions spanning rare U.S. coins, historical manuscripts and art genres ranging from illustration to modern and contemporary all beat expectations due in most part to a surge in online bidding, said Jim Halperin, Co-founder of Heritage Auctions.

“Heritage was the first auction house to host online bidding in 1999,” Halperin said. “What were once concerns that participation in the middle of a pandemic would hurt the auctions turned into a record-setting number of online bids by more than 16,000 clients all over the world.”

A total of 23 auction sessions generated sales of $41,027,418. Sell-through rate reached 97 percent with more than 16,000 bidders participating across the board. More than 29,831 clients tracked 16,041 lots on HA.com, the auction house’s website, during April 20-27.

The results represent a significant difference between Heritage Auctions and other mainstream auction houses that are just beginning to wade into the world of online sales. Heritage’s year-after-year dominance in the online auction marketplace has been cited by the annual Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, which tracks auction market annual sales.

Design and modern and contemporary art auctions well surpassed expectations with more than $2.6 million in sales, April 20-22. Rare manuscripts, including uncensored campaign notes by President John F. Kennedy, drew more than $1.1 million in bids April 22.

More than $33.6 million in rare coins and currency changed hands April 23-24, even though the auction had to be moved to Dallas, instead of being held at a Numismatic Convention in Chicago.

“Almost all of these sales came from online bidding, and the final price total exceeded our pre-sale estimates by over 10 percent,” Halperin said. “That tells us our clients trust our platform and are very comfortable placing online bids for very valuable objects.”

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.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: Hiscox Report). The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,250,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

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