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How to Sell Captain America Shield from Avengers Endgame w/ Alex Winter REBROADCAST
Episode 13511th July 2022 • The Business Samurai • John Barker
00:00:00 00:53:53

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Alex Winter is the President and CEO of Hakes Auctions.

Alex discusses:

  1. How he got into collecting.
  2. How Hakes Auctions differentiates from other online auction houses
  3. How the prices of collectibles have exploded in the past several years
  4. Some of the unique high-end collectibles they have sold at auction fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars.

https://hakes.com

Transcripts

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Since the early days of the pandemic, the high end collectible market

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has been skyrocketing sports cards, collectibles from star wars and DC

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and Marvel and political memorabilia have been skyrocketing in price.

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On this episode of the business Amai podcast, I have the pleasure to speak.

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With Alex winter, Alex is the CEO of hakes.com Hakes auction

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house, which was founded in 1967.

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And is the oldest pop culture auction house in the United States seemed

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appropriate to rebroadcast this episode as the latest auction is taking place.

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And you can check for yourself how much the prices have jumped and how much

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certain pieces of memorabilia go for in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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So please listen to my conversation with Alex winter on

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the business, Samurai podcast.

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Sit back, enjoy, and welcome to the business Samurai podcast.

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I am your host, John Barker.

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I was born a collector that way.

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Comic books were certainly my first love, but when I started to read

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them, they were hand down comics and I just had them as a kid.

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It wasn't really collecting, it was just procuring.

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And then in 1980, I went into a bookstore and on the rack was

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new teen Titans, number one.

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So I was already a comic fan and now I saw first issue and

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something just clicked and I.

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I'd rather come back next month for number two.

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So that led to now a lifelong fan of comics in general.

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And not long after that, then I started doing flea markets and local coop

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co-ops and things looking for comic books, but I would find a Batman and

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lunchbox and a Superman game and seven 11 Marvel slurpy cups, and, all of

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this kind of stuff that was related.

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And again, being a collector, I just started to buy this stuff.

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And at that time I was helping out a guy named D STMI, who got me on the

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path of collectibles as a career, helping him at toy shows and his

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booze at flea markets and so forth.

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And he was the shipping manager at HS.

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So in 1985, I officially joined the staff at 16 37 years later, my one and only job

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But along that way, Hakes has always been about offering something for everyone.

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Nothing was off limits if it was historic or.

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Pop culture collectible.

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So I would see pinback buttons.

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I would see original art.

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I would see all this other stuff, autographs, concert posters and just

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started buying whatever I liked.

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There were some collections that were much more expansive, and

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then there were some collections.

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I had just a few things of but I liked them.

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So that's, and as you can see behind me, that's what it is.

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It's now a hodgepodge of 40 plus years in this industry in total.

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And the things that I really like and enjoy.

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And as we talked before we started here also sports cards and there's very

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little that hasn't crossed my path, that I haven't added something to my

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collection, even if it's just one piece.

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There's just so much stuff that I like.

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And I unfortunately feel the need that I have to have it.

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All right.

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That's a

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collective.

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I was gonna say, I think there's so for anybody that doesn't

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know me on the intimate level I've been in again, collecting.

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Mostly Chicago bulls basketball, and that has evolved over time.

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Cause I, I grew up during the Michael Jordan era, of course.

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When I was a kid even when, not from Chicago, but grew up on WGN, always a

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bulls fan always die hard basketball fan.

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Appointment viewing no matter what the game it was.

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So I grew up in there and that evolved into Superman.

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I've got little pictures of me as a little kid dressed up as Superman, and that,

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so when of the bull steam had ran out, I of transitioned into Superman stuff.

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Mostly partially because I like flying.

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But also because of some of the sentiment behind the character and what

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the character stands for is something personally I believe, but there's

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absolutely an addictive nature to it.

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So with you with you're collecting and how other people collect you're

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you don't have a singular focus?

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No, as far as a

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thing, the primary focus.

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Okay.

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I didn't even touch on that is, is music.

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Okay.

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So also in listening to radio, as a kid, fine was into kiss in

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the late seventies, but more, as them being a superhero themselves.

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I didn't have, I didn't own that music.

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I was a little too young to buy music, but in 1980, again, with

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the new teen Titans back in black, comes out and changes my life.

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So I bought that.

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And then for the next couple years, all I did was listen to everything

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ACDC, but I bought everything that they had and everything new that came

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out and then finally broke outta that and started to listen to other bands.

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And in 1985, I got my first turntable and that's about 6,000 records later.

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Okay.

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Wow.

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And just as many CDs and I have real to reel in eight track.

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So my biggest collection is music and one of the reasons is, listen to

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music all day long, keeps me going.

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That's what I bleed.

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But also it's a collection that I can use.

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So I don't just look at it.

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I can pull at any second, a record off the shelf and actually play it.

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So all of that adds up to it being my favorite of all my collections.

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But again I just branch out and it, one thing I have is a from sym,

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Massachusetts, a early 19 hundreds celluloid match safe with a witch one.

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I like Halloween.

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It just was a neat piece.

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So I have nothing else like that in my collection, but

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that I do because I liked it.

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So I'm a little different in that.

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I'm as broad as I am.

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Many collectors are much more folks like when you were just spools or

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Superman and Superman can be, I just collect the comic books, or I just

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collect the action figures or I just collect, paper memorabilia from the

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forties, the premiums and so forth.

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So a collector can be as focused as you want, or it can be

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as wide ranging as you want.

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And that's what keeps it fun and exciting in that there are limitless

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possibilities in what you can collect, and that also goes to value, right?

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You don't have a lot of disposable income right now.

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All you're seen is a million dollar comic and card, and that's out of range.

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For most people.

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You can buy lots of comics and cards and everything in any price

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point, and then just be happy with that, a master collection as it

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suits your needs and your means.

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no I agree.

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And one of the things, cause I am part of a few groups, a matter of fact

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Zach Curtis is maybe if he is not the world's premier Superman collector,

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he's gotta be in the top three in my mind, I've actually been to Ohio and

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have seen his collection in person.

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And it's every, he bought the estate of Kirk Allen and for anybody that's

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listening to this, Kirk Allen was the very first actor to parade Superman

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in live action in the movie serials.

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And so I've seen his collection, firsthand, and that's how I got turned

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onto, Hey, so he's very much a I would say he's got a volume collection of older and

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vintage memorabilia toys and games, but I also see the other side of the ones and.

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The part where I think the addicted nature can be in trouble at sometimes is when

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everybody goes and buys something that just has the logo stamped on everything.

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And so when you've got a character that's like Superman or Batman or

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star wars, and it's legitimately just smashed on every piece of paper, every

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piece of clothing at the dollar store.

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And then I see people focusing in on, I see people focusing in

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and go, Hey, look what I got.

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I got 25 chocolate bars and they all had the Superman logo on there.

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And I'm like, great, what are you gonna do with that?

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And so I sometimes think that, it's okay, that's where an addictive

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nature kind of comes into.

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And I don't know if that's something that is just inherent to everybody, but

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I do see that is pretty prevalent out

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there as well.

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And look, it's not everybody right.

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They for many years, for decades I had to explain to everybody what I did.

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I would carry a catalog along with me to show them in the nineties

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because they didn't get it right.

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They didn't understand.

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They understood, they heard people collect coins or fine art, but

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this other stuff, it was new.

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It wasn't new to the collectors of Disney and comics and so forth.

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They've been doing it in sixties and seventies, but it wasn't as, as

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widespread wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now in that every website, every

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TV show that collectors collectibles, all of this stuff is in our mindset.

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Now when you say I work at a collectibles auction house, okay.

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They know what you're talking about.

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So it, it took a long time to get to the point where it is now.

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And much of that has to do with values of things, right?

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As values have risen, then you have places like ESPN covering

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when a card sale happens.

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That didn't happen decades ago.

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They didn't care.

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So again it's great for the collecting industry that it's

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has the exposure that it does.

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, but it also reveals to the true nature of some collectors in that we're obsessive.

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So one, it isn't enough and I'm not talking about just one, one Superman item.

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I'm even saying I know collectors that have five and six copies of the same

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book or the same item it's then it crosses over into a quarter territory.

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So there's a fine line between collecting and hoarding.

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And you just have to, I can't pick and choose what makes you happy.

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And if you have a significant other, make sure that they're okay with what you're

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doing too, cuz that can become an issue.

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No, absolutely.

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I would periodically get my wife go, what are you going to do?

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Or put with that?

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Because there's a point, like I said, I've seen those volume collectors.

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Cause I used to get probably like you, when somebody knows you're interested

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into something, it can make it easy with, if somebody wants to get you a

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gift at your birthday or Christmas or something like that Hey, you like records.

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I'm gonna go, get you some records.

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. And in my case, particularly when you've got something that's relatively

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mainstream now it's still ongoing.

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The bulls obviously still play and you get a bunch of stuff that I

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went through, I call it the purge.

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I, everything that you know, was just that I hesitate to use the term junk

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stuff, but the dollar store item type of things, it's I gotta, and then you stick

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it all together in a couple bins and I'm

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what are you gotta do

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this?

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Stuff's gotta go.

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Like I need to make this stuff go away.

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And then I have a mindset again, having a bunch of stuff from the

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forties and fifties with Superman in particular, where I go.

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Hey, these things to me, have a little bit of a historical con con content to it,

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and I'm trying to preserve these things.

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Yeah.

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From my, from my vantage point I don't necessarily, we talked

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about this in email before.

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It's not that I'm not aware of what something may cost or the, if something

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now has a value risen to it, but that's not the main driver for it.

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I'm looking at something going.

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I'm trying to preserve this piece of, American history in a certain way of

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something that, I identify with and enjoy.

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But are you seeing now?

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And something I have seen with COVID in particular with big auctions and this

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price is spiking and card selling like crazy that people aren't necessarily

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collecting for the love of collecting or love for a particular property,

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but because they may have more cash or may have more, assets are really

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purchasing these things, thinking they're gonna turn this around in a

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year or two with a 25, 50%, a hundred percent return on investment versus

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the, what I consider that collector's

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mindset.

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Yeah.

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One thing you said that's very important is you said awareness of value, right?

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There's never been a collector in history that didn't buy something

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and know it has some value intrinsic value, but also monetary value.

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And price guys have been around for decades over street,

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started in 19 69, 19 70.

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So collector has already been aware that there's a value to things

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and it can increase, but that's never been the driving force.

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It's great.

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If we find something for a bargain and we know it's worth more and it's

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nice to see your collection increasing value over the years, but that's a

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collector's main thing is I have it.

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I'm holding it.

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I've got it on my walls, my shelves, whatever that shifted in the last

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number of years as collectibles have become commodity, we, and we have to

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look at it that way it's just a, a realistic thing these days, much of it

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has to do with the grading companies.

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So coins, again are always looked at as something of varying investment.

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It's still collectible in many ways, it's historical artifact, but it's now

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encapsulated and it's got a grade on it.

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So that's when the big price jump happened on everything.

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You saw that in cards you saw that happen in comics action figures.

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Stores had been selling for many years.

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We sold our first star war item in 1985 before anybody knew what

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star wars was gonna be collectible.

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Right?

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now you see the price they're getting because these things are encapsulated.

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So collectors buying it for the item.

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What is in that case for sentimental reasons, for whatever

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reclaiming their childhood.

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They just like the character of the film, the card, whatever investor.

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So say the nostalgia.

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I

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wonder if there's a nostalgia piece.

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Yeah,

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for sure.

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Investors are buying that tag that says 9.0 9.5 10 point.

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Oh, okay.

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They may not know who Mickey manna with.

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They may have never have seen star wars.

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They may never ever read a comic book.

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Okay.

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I don't come from collecting from that standpoint, but that's me, the reality

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is that are many people investors that are now getting into this and they are

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seeing big returns on their items so far.

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Now, again, you can't predict the future and I can say two words, beanie babies.

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Yeah.

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Way at the top.

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And now look at it.

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So if you're coming at it from an investment standpoint, just beware

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Hanks will never say, buy this.

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It's gonna be worth X.

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We will say, buy what you love what you buy.

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That's the collector mentality.

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But yes, especially since COVID hit and people at home with nothing to

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do, they couldn't leave their house.

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We have seen dramatic increase in the number of bidders and dramatic

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increase in prices across the board.

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And I'm talking about one area I'm talking about all areas of collecting,

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much of this has to do with collectors who do have more money or time.

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Enhance their collection.

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But at the same time, this industry is infused with a whole new group of

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investors who are spending whatever they want on these items, much of it based on

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what they perceive it to be one day it's reality these days with collectibles.

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Yeah.

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No.

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And I share a couple stories with this.

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Again.

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I have been, oh man, I've been collecting Chicago bull stuff, since

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the early nineties, of course, and a buddy of mine runs a sports car shop.

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And I met him when I was 14 and he still has it to this day and he

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hit me up last summer and he said, Hey man, if there's anything you

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wanted to get rid of, of your Jordan collection, cuz I, he goes, now's the.

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He goes, cause I've got, I had parsed everything down to where I've got sign,

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I've got signed jerseys that are framed.

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I've got I had a some basketball cars, but for the most part, the bulk stuff I

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had gotten rid of, but I've got a whole, a shoe boxes that were literally just,

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and I'm gonna hold one up for anybody.

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Just listened to the audio of, Michael Jordan.

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I know how, there's Becks out there.

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There's online price guys that are out there.

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So I flip through there and say, is there anything I actually want to get rid of?

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Because I had so many of them.

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And to me, what I saw I came across two cards.

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This is actually the second one.

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I haven't done anything with yet.

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I couldn't figure out what was driving the price out.

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And I consider myself being, having been in the community, talk to other

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people that collect all the time.

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I could not figure out there was nothing special.

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There's nothing special about this Michael Jordan card I'm holding up.

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It is not limited.

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It is maybe an it's an insert to something, but there's no number.

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There's no Jersey, there's no signature.

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It's just a card.

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And I cannot figure out what makes this card go from something I got out

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of a pack for two bucks that, should be a $20 card that I could go throw

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this online and sell it for $400.

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I sold one last summer that I kid you not.

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If I was just going, I want to go buy a Michael Jordan card,

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which I've not done in years.

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And flip through a bunch of them.

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I sold one last year for 800 bucks that I would've passed over.

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, that's how plain Jane it was.

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And I can't make TEDS or tails of what's happening in the Margaret space, other

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than people think they're just in, they're investing for the they're buying

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things for the sake of the investment and don't really know what they're buying.

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Correct.

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And the Jordan is a great example and look at his fleer of rookie.

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That took a meteoric rise over a company.

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You talking that card that was stagnant for decades and the gem mint $30,000 range

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COVID hits the ESPN special comes on.

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It goes up to two to $300,000.

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That's a tremendous increase in very small amount of time.

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End of 2019, middle of 2020, beginning of 2021.

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It hits $700,000 multiple times in auction and now has come back

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and it's two or 300,000 still way above what it was pre COVID, but

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you can see, giant ups and downs.

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So you're gonna have that.

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There are plenty of other things that have kept going up.

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Nothing has come down.

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But talking about not being plentiful, this was a mass produced card.

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This wasn't a one of one.

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Yeah.

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But it is, Michael Jordan there's star 1 0 1 is the rookie, but

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everybody wants to your card.

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So that's the one I want.

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I actually don't have I I got the sticker card.

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I got the

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rookie sticker.

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I don't have the real it's.

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It's like a man.

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Everybody wants 52 tops.

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51 bones is rookie, want 52 tops.

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But that's the card.

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So then when you have lots of people that want that card, even though

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it's, I won't say plentiful, but there's enough on the market, right?

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That's gonna drive the price up.

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And right now there's still a lot of people who want that card and even

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more so now the LeBrons and Luca donts and all these one of ones, and,

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you're seeing extraordinary prices on those and where it goes, who knows?

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Could it keep going up short?

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Could it go down short?

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So again, if you're a collector, just stay within your means.

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If you're an investor, then do what you want, but for be aware.

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Sure.

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And that's why I guess that again going back to what I experienced last year,

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when I was going through stuff and saying, oh, what's this stuff going for?

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I forgot.

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I had a Jim mint, 10 a Jordan.

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It was a Coca-Cola card from UNC.

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There was a set there, 10 cent carts.

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They were super mass produced.

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I happened to have a Jim mint tent graded that must have came

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in a box with a piece of Jersey on there, but he played in 50 bucks.

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Was the going price, this random insert card that I, I do not know what

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makes it special or, and the one that I sold, I'm just going, it's just,

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everything seemed out a whack to me.

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Yeah.

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As far as the, as far as the collecting goes, cause I'm concerned about their

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getting into that really over what was the company's over mass producing

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everything in those early nineties.

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And you can still go by, by on open wax boxes in 1991 tops

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and upper deck and FL box

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sky box.

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Yes, I was there.

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I was there.

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Trust me.

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I was there at the time and that's what really got me out of car click.

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There was so much, and there were all these chase cards and all this stuff

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that, that now everybody once, but back then, we all got burned out on it.

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I remember chasing after Debe Maum.

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Set up 10 cards.

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I always paying, ridiculous prices just to get that a Billy Owen's autograph

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card, I paid like $150 of the show.

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And that was a big deal with this short show.

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Now sell, does Billy Owens signed card.

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So you have that of, you just have to watch.

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And again, for me as a collector, I just buy what I like.

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So it wasn't about the value.

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It was about me completing these sets.

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And to your point who knows what someone wants, if one card that one

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item at all that really wasn't looked at favorably sells for a big price,

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then everyone's gonna line up for the next one, just because of that price.

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Not again, not from a collector standpoint, but now we're talking about,

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this looks like a good investment.

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It was here now it's here.

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And where could it go?

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Do you think the grading companies have.

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Helped or hurt the industry and with subjectivity.

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And I'll give you an example.

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I wanna say the buddy of mine that owns the sports car shop, I

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wanna say it was a United rookie.

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I can't remember what it was but it was your, a high end and he sent

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it off to be graded by I forget which one it was, it comes back.

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He thought the grade was too low.

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They gave him a six and a half.

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He goes, if I send this back in and spend a hundred bucks and it comes back even

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at a half, a point higher, that makes the price of this go up another thousand

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dollars that I can go sell it for.

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And it was all subjective on whoever received the item in, puts it through

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whatever their process is and he comes back and he actually gets it another point

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higher after he sent it a second time.

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So I don't know if that's, if I like it from the protection

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standpoint I got with me right here.

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It's a Superman number.

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It's a 19, obviously you're talking a 1940s comic.

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I like it in the protective.

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This came from hates.

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This is actually a hates auction.

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I got the sticker on the back.

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I like the protection of a 1940s comic because I don't want it to deteriorate.

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But I don't know, from the collector standpoint, people sitting there

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chasing out, this is only a one and a half because the cover's been ripped

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off that people are chasing these grades and keep sending things off.

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And then you get subjectivity out of it if it helps or hurts.

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So there's no right or wrong, you're gonna get 50%, like 50% don't from

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an auction standpoint, it makes it much easier for us that we

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remove ourselves from that grading.

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Okay.

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And we don't have to worry about someone then second guessing or

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questioning what we graded this at.

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They may not like the grade.

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They may think it's higher, low of the third party grading company, but

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they don't complain to us about that.

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That's they take that online then, right?

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Complain on message boards.

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Sure.

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. , but I think it's a good thing exactly from your standpoint is again, even

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as a collector, I'm buying these things and I don't want them to be in

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lower grade than when I bought 'em.

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So having them encapsulated like this certainly helps.

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The biggest thing encapsulation has done is again, raise the prices on things.

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So we could have a comic that we call fine, and we could have a

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CGC comic that they call fine.

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There could be a huge difference in price.

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And obviously third party is the reason why it's always gonna bring more.

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We remove our just autograph authentication.

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We used to do that all ourselves.

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Okay.

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And then there were lots of questions we've removed ourselves.

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Does everybody like every authentication company for autographs?

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No.

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Is it a good alternative to of separate the auction house, the seller, the buyer?

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Absolutely.

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You can spout negatives about any third part of the authentication of grading, but

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in the end it really is better for the.

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In my opinion as a collector and as an auction house,

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no, you did touch on something that I think I is good.

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Is the authenticity of an item when you send it to some of those things?

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I definitely have looked at that with autographs that I have purchased in

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the past, gotten burned a couple times as well as, being able to get the

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validity that something is true, but I wanna pivot to, we've talked about our

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personal collecting history and what we think of the state of the market,

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but actually about hates itself.

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You guys do, it's just a, I know you have little small auctions

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cause I, I can't remember.

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I think this, the comic that I've got sitting next to me, that I showed was

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from one of the big ones that you do, but that's just three times a year.

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Correct.

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And then with the little compass right now, we're doing three premier

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cataloged auctions of marble categories.

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Then we'll do about six nine only auctions in between that are more themed.

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One will be sports member video.

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One will be comic books.

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We have.

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The comic and action figure one coming up, what we are gonna start

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doing smaller catalog auctions.

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And we're gonna start with star wars in a couple months because

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we have that much material and that much higher end material.

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So the lesser value stuff, we tend to just do the online auctions.

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It's quicker, easier.

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We don't have a high print cost for the catalog and postage.

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So those would make our premier events three times a year, but you will

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see other catalog auctions coming up throughout the year as well.

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No, and I want to tell anybody that's listening or happen to be watching this.

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I it's I don't like having overhead camera flip through.

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I enjoy, I've been getting this catalog for years.

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And even though I'm very narrow focused, I thoroughly enjoy flipping through.

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every page of this there's history, particularly when you're talking

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most of the catalogs start out with the the political category.

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So you see buttons from old election campaigns.

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You've had stuff from George Washington on there.

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I think some Abraham St.

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Lincoln signed letters.

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Like I said, it's, there's, it's American history built in baked into

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this, and I know they say print is dead , but this catalog is fantastic.

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And I look forward to every year or every auction getting through it.

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And I legitimately flip through every single page in there just because I like

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looking at the historical stuff in there.

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And I think other people would, that, that have not

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seen you are that.

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And there's a lot of time and effort that goes into that catalog.

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But again while I would like to get rid of it from a cost standpoint, right?

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No doubt.

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It's tangible.

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So again, we're dealing with.

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Customers collectors that want tangible objects.

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I didn't help your argument.

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No, look, trust me.

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The owner of the company, Steve is the same way he loves the catalog, right?

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So it's just, that's how it is.

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And a great selling tool too.

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We can say, look at this catalog, we will treat your items properly.

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And, one thing that stems from is we've done 20 some price guides

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and reference books, right?

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So we are historians as much as we are in auction house and sellers of these items.

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So when we Cal item, we do it from the mindset of how we do things in

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price guides and properly present it give it the right photos, give it the

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right description, put the Bitter's mind at ease that they're going to

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get exactly what they are seeing in the kow or online or wherever.

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So we take great time and great pride in making sure.

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As far as we are concerned, we get it right on these items.

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So talking about auction houses in general, what, how would you

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characterize the difference?

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If I, I've got my Superman graded 1.5, I'm ready to part with it of having

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you guys sell it versus throwing it up on eBay or something like that.

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What's the key differentiator from the business perspective,

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number one, we take all the work and headaches away from you, right?

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You wanna deal with eBay?

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Okay.

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I can give you a whole list of things you're gonna have to deal with.

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So I've done that in the

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past with smaller

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stuff, but, and, there's a massive worldwide audience on eBay, but there's

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also millions of items on any one time.

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So what we do, especially in the premier auctions, We curate that option.

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So I was gonna ask, yeah, we personally make sure there's not

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what we feel too much of anything.

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It doesn't do justice to the bidder who then has too many choices.

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And what do they do?

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Certainly doesn't do justice to the consigner who then competes

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against someone else's items.

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So we walk a fine line.

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We have two very different sets of clientele.

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A bid wants to get the item as cheap as possible.

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Again, sign wants to get the most they can for that item.

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How do we make them both happy you don't you you try as best as you can.

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But from that standpoint again the catalog is just so critical in conveying

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the message of, here's the items that we had to present at this time to you.

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You don't get that with eBay, you're scrolling and scrolling, scrolling.

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We organize it on our website.

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We have everything categorized.

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We make it as easy as possible for.

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Consumer to decide what they really want and then they go after it.

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And again, a minimal fee, as far as I'm concerned for all the work

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that we do versus what you're gonna pay on eBay, do all the work

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and auction houses in general.

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Won't just say heys, essentially every auction house has the same

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clientele give or take, right?

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So you could go to any auction house and if you got the right item,

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you're gonna get the right price.

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Any given day could fluctuate a little bit but what we take to heart it hates

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is that we make sure we do everything we can for the consigner to make them happy.

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And at the same time, we make sure that whoever wins, that item is gonna

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be happy with that as well in the end.

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So we take great pride, great time in what we think is presenting things

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better than any other auction house that's, up for debate I'm biased.

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at the same time though.

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Nobody should be

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Thank you.

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But nobody just done longer.

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That's one thing we can say, 1967, we are the first collectibles auction house.

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So

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With the items that you receive in, you talked about curating 'em

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is there a period you have a year cutoff, particularly for newer items?

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I will say where you go, Hey, cause I, if you flip through the

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back, you start getting into the action figures, the graded stuff.

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Cause these are things from my childhood where I go, Hey, I used

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to have that when I was 10, I got, I see the transformers and the GI

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Joe's and stuff like that in there.

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Is there, do you have a cutoff on the new stuff where you go, Hey, we're

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not ready to bring this in here yet.

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This isn't aged enough or this is not popular enough.

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It used to be that way decades ago.

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It did take a bit of time for somebody to want that item back in, in their

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life, in their collection, whatever nowadays, no with the cards, right?

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You can have a pack of cards and here's a hot player.

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We'll sell that now.

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New comic books off of the rec there's all these variants that are happening.

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Oh, true.

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Yeah.

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So, So no, there's no timeframe.

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It's more of what are the collectors looking for?

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Okay.

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For the most part, it is vintage.

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I'm not say vintage, even now.

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I'm talking at least 10 years old but 2030, I laugh,

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I laugh.

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I, I, again mention exact again, I've been to series little personal auctions and

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he'll go, Hey, this is vintage just 1995.

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And I'm like, I'm older than that.

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Does

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these things that really is it's vintage, right?

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There's so much stuff being produced that is new, but even a couple

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years old, you can call it vintage.

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So no, we don't discriminate against anything as long as it

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has some kind of collective value.

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Now the vast majority of the new stuff being produced does not it's

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overproduced, it's mass produced.

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Sure.

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But there's still, like I said, limitation cards and these variants.

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And so there's no timeframe.

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It's really a matter of, do we have customers.

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And if so, then we have to learn it, right?

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Just Pokemon video games.

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There, there are things that are in the here and now that just a few years ago,

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we certainly was not in our vocabulary.

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And now it must be because people are asking for that.

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Now that you said that I can't recall seeing the, I know graded video games

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now is a hot thing, particularly Nintendo and stuff like that.

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I don't recall seeing those in the magazines or not enough at a

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volume that I, it jumps out at the,

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in my recollection.

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And not in the last we had some in the one before that again the thing

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that we try to do is offer what we have at any given time rate.

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So sometimes it's gonna be more common, extended is cards

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or vice versa, or, political.

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We always have 500 items cuz we have so much in house.

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In the main catalogs anyway it, we never go with a mindset of,

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we have to have these items.

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It's just, let's look at what we have, what's the best.

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And let's put those into that catalog auction or one of the online or whatever.

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We, again, we take a lot of time and effort into making sure.

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we don't overload anyone at any given time.

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And

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from what I saw from a valuation standpoint for it to be worth you

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guys to even list it in there, I think I've seen minimum bids are never

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below a hundred bucks currently.

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Yes.

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Years and years ago it was gonna be $5 was a minute.

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Sure.

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Okay.

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But yes, now for the catalog auction, it should have an opening

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bit of a hundred value code.

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Then estimate is two to 400.

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So we're hoping nothing sells for below 200 that goes in the catalog auction.

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And we're certainly moving towards increasing that as well as the cost

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of catalog and just overhead goes up.

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Sure.

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But that's what makes online auctions so great.

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And I don't want it to sound like the online auctions are just lower end stuff.

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We have some really good pieces in all of those auctions.

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Oh, maybe we have two or three of the same exact thing and a.

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Consignor doesn't wait the three or four month period between the premier auctions.

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We can now slot it in anywhere and it will do what it should do.

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So it, again, it's a balance of how much do we have star wars?

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That's one reason why we're gonna have some in an upcoming, April, may auction,

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and then a June auction of just star wars.

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And then more in July, we have that much stuff right now.

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And as you saw in the last auction, the prices that things brought, now's the

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time to be putting that out on the market.

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I I laugh a little bit because one of the things I'm staring at on the

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screen right now, I was actually able to win it at the opening

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auction bid . And which is actually, I'll tell you, this is my tactic.

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When I'm tracking something on your.

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I go on there the first day and throw just the opening bid and whatever the

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low thing is just so I get the alerts.

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Yep.

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Later on and I had forgot and then I'm standing there about an hour before.

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I'm like, I wanna win that.

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so sorry for again, going back to your analogy, sorry for just

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sold that to me, but I was pretty

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That was

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actually pretty heavy, can I seem pretty heavy?

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you know, Consignors have to look at the broad picture too, in that every

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auction, no matter who it is, the biggest auctions in the world, there's

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gonna be some things that are light.

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And that some things are gonna set record prices and they're gonna be

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playing stuff right down the line.

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So you gotta balance it out of, high, low, medium and look, not some things

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sell it's opening bid and that's okay.

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It, again, you're happy you got into that price, so we have a customer

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it's ready to come back and yeah.

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So you're getting an email later.

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Sorry about that.

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Do you have people searching you out and say, Hey, this is what I collect.

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I'm looking for these items ahead of time for

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you guys to go find stuff.

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Absolutely.

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Yeah, no, we do.

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And again, that plays into what we offer sometimes.

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We may have something that we think is better for an upcoming auction

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and we have some people that are looking for it and then we'll put

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it into the next upcoming auction.

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So yeah we have constant, we constantly have people asking us,

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do we have this many times we don't, but we'll say, I don't know, what's

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gonna show up today or tomorrow.

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So it could.

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And yeah, we also.

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Are very mindful of what people are looking for and we seek

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that out for them as well.

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Okay.

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So I imagine you probably have relationships then with other

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people, other large collections.

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Cause there, there are peop for if people aren't aware, there are

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certain, I know comics in particular where you've got a very high end

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collector where their collection is actually called the named person.

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This is the comic collection from them.

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And every single one of those things is completely vetted.

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And I've seen it, I think with artwork as

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well with the pedigree is a big thing in pedigree.

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I could think of the, whether it's, sometimes you can get a third party

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greater to put that on the label, if it's established, known a big name.

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And then there are other pedigrees that, that we sell.

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Like we just had a Palm Chesky baseball pinback collection that we've been

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selling well, it's not something that some baseball buttons have been greater by

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PSA, but it's not to the, a large extent.

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So this was basically.

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As is raw, if you will.

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But we associated that name with it because this is a person that

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wrote a book on the subject.

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He was the foremost collector.

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We did that with the Richard merkin baseball collection.

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Some of the cards did get a pedigree on their label if they were graded, but there

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was tons of other things that we sold that were not able to be encapsulated.

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So a pedigree is important, even if it's not a big name, a no name,

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if that person, as you alluded to earlier, took the time to put this

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together for a specific reason.

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So we like to call that out.

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We like to do writeups on that feature collection section of our website, when

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an auction goes online, that shows that somebody took years and many times a

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lifetime to put this collection together.

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So it becomes much more than just them putting items on a shelf.

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They become historians, right?

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They document this stuff.

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In many cases, they have one of a kind items that they didn't have it.

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Nobody else would so pedigree to me is important from a collector

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standpoint, because I know there was a lot that was put behind

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getting this collection assembled.

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I wanna say you actually had one of what is it?

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Bill Byers.

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I

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believe.

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Joe.

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Yeah.

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I had some stuff I'm like, Hey.

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Cause when I saw his name pop up, I'm like, I know him.

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I've talked to, I've talked to him before and I'm going, oh, he's getting rid of the

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GI.

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But sometimes in his case they requested and rightfully sometimes we suggested

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and the, if the person is alive, they decide if they want to go with it.

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If they're not, we talk to the state.

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Sometimes they don't want their name revealed.

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So it's really case by case basis.

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But I certainly like to be able to say we offer pedigree collections

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because of the reasons I stated.

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How do you get I'll use the Bobo effect example from the last one

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the prototype, which there's only a handful of those in the exist.

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Is that just a random collector that you don't know that pops up and says, Hey,

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I've got this, I'm ready to part with it.

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There you go.

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Sell it for me.

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Or,

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yeah it comes from all different ways, right?

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There will be known collectors that come to us and we already know what's

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in their collection, but they're ready to part with some or all.

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There are plenty of collections out there that we all know of

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and everybody is waiting for the time that they come up for sale.

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So we always keep those on our radar.

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We have a number of pickers to scour the country, if not the world for items.

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Okay.

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And then bring them to us.

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We will have a family that inherits or a person inherits in the

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state and they will find us and say, we need to liquidate this.

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And it can be somebody just finds one item in a desk drawer, which just happened

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this week with some baseball buttons.

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They found three great St.

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Louis Cardinals pin backs that we had sold from the Paul Majeski collection.

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A few times ago, they found our results contacted us, sent 'em to us.

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A variety of ways.

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And that's, what is the most interesting part of this job is we really don't know

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what's gonna happen on any given day and good and bad, we could be offered the most

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incredible item, and it seems like it's a lock and we're ready to do the deal.

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And all of a sudden it falls apart for whatever reason.

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And at the same time, the most amazing it can be offered to us.

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And the next thing you know, here it is in front of us and it's in the next catalog.

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There's plenty of stuff that is in house that we always work on for each auction,

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but every day, anything could change.

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If something else comes our way.

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And then we decide, what are we gonna do with this piece?

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What about like the,

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The captain America shield for instance, was that coming straight?

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Straight from that movie was only a couple years ago.

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Is that like a Marvel studios?

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Hey we built six of these things and we're gonna part with three of

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them.

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That's a long story in that it was actually in a charity auction.

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Okay.

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And the person that wanted declined it for a specific reason.

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And so the people that had offered it originally didn't

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want to do that format again.

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And they sent it to us.

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It did come straight from Marvel studios to propmaster verified, everything.

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I When you talk prop shoot above and beyond comics and cars and autographs,

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you have to vet this stuff like crazy.

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And even then sometimes you don't know, but this had iron CLA provenance.

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It was a killer piece.

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And that's why it was the focus.

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It was the single on the front cover of the catalog rate.

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We did incredible promotion for it.

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We were at Baltimore comic com with it own.

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So that was the kind of piece that every auction house wants.

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And actually when we got it and posted a line that we had it,

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there was some chatter as it happens on social media these days.

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I don't know if you've noticed or not, but lots of people like to talk.

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I can't find you on

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social media actually.

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me.

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You won't even no on Facebook, I've gotta have a Facebook page

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because of hates, but that Facebook page is run by people at hates.

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I am not a social media person.

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I don't want be a social media person.

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So anytime you see Alex went on social media, it's not me as

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someone else doing it for me.

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Oh,

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I'll go on from them then.

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yes.

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Anyway so as soon as we got this, there was chatter and they said it should

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bring this, but Hanks isn't really is.

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Isn't the place that I know for props on and so forth.

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And I defended ourselves and said wrong again.

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We've been doing this longer than anybody.

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If you have the right piece, they will.

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And we did the right promotion and we did, and we got a record price for it.

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So again, that was one that was exciting to get.

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We certainly had a price in mind that exceeded even that expectation.

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The consign was thrilled when he been was thrilled.

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So that was a win-win for everyone, but those pieces are few and far

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between, a $260,000 item like that doesn't appear every day.

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Unfortunately I would love it too by by 10 or more.

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And that would make the catalog much easier to put together.

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Yeah.

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I

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just wondered if that would start getting cuz I actually know.

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I don't I use the term.

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No, it's somebody.

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I am familiar with that.

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I have gotten television, like script.

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and props from because they worked on the production studio in Canada and were able

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to like, Hey, they shut this stuff down.

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So we gathered that up that, that you would particularly with captain miracles.

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That's awesome.

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Matter of fact, prior to us recording this, I've been saying, Hey, I'm

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talking to, Alex winter they sold this and that made some people

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go, oh, that's, that's awesome because there's an attention getter.

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It's absolutely a kitchen getter to sit there and go, okay,

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you've done this with them.

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Now you're gonna go get the new Batman movie and you're gonna sell the Batman.

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They won't sell the Batman.

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I'm used as an example, to start getting, formalized relationships

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with some of those guys, cuz they're ready to shut down production on

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popular items and cuz there's a whole subculture of the movie prop stuff and.

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I, I, to me, I think comic books are dying if not dead.

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And the stuff the way pop culture is, has moved to movie and television

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shows and things of that nature.

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You're gonna see maybe a wider appeal for people wanting pieces of those shows

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and pieces of those movies, just my own.

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And just from a comic guy, comic joint, dead comic show list than

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the used to in many cases, but yeah, just do a viable community and that's

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supported by primarily comic cons.

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So yeah, you wanna get something signed you hand 'em a digital, something you

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hand had a comic book, so yes the heyday of when we had million dollar or million

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print run comic books for every title, lesser extent but comics are still.

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Comic show was driving everything.

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You don't have a back old.

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Yeah.

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And you, or a dare TV show without the origin comic.

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Exactly.

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Yeah.

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And collectors, look, there are plenty of people.

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Look, you didn't buy that comic off the rack as a kid.

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But you wanted that issue.

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So there are plenty of collectors that know of comics now and are gravitating

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and going back and collecting issues from the past because of the importance,

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that's where the character started or they like the storyline or so on and so forth.

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So comics are very important to the landscape of pop culture,

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past president of future

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now.

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And I've always said, everybody's got their thing.

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Somebody listen to this going, oh, you're crazy.

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You look like Superman.

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I guarantee you've got something in your.

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whether you act actively know it or not, that you're collect, you're

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interested in, everybody's got their hobby with those things that they they

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accumulate knowledge or accumulate items.

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Sure.

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With some of that stuff, do you have trouble with stuff that

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comes in and you go, ah, crap.

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I don't want, I don't wanna, I want this one myself.

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Yeah, look we stayed in the catalog.

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The employees can bid if they went we're all collectors.

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So yes, there are things that I bid on this last auction.

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I won nothing.

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That's how robust the bidding was.

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I like some things I let 'em go to somebody else.

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But, and I bid in other auction houses and I go in eBay and, again, I don't

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have a room with stuff like this, just our pants, so I'm actively, always

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seeking things out, but yeah, it, the other, the one good thing is that.

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I don't have to own everything across my path, because for

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a short time I did right.

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It's in front of me.

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I helped catalog it.

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Or the shield.

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I saw it, I got to hold it.

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We took it to the ComicCon.

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So that's also the beauty of this job is that while you can physically

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obtain these, I can imagine to your collection, if not, for a brief

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period, they were in your life.

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So it's cool.

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Just to think of all the things that I've seen at Hanks over the years.

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It's just an unbelievable amount of stuff.

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It's, it, a museum has passed before my eyes over 37 years here.

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Oh,

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I know.

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I have no doubt.

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And how, when you're talking about switching back, this is sometimes

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circular conversations to a degree talking about when you get one of

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those one off items and you sit there.

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Do looking at your team of experts, that kind of work there, that

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specialize in something, when you go, how do you start putting in a.

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somebody comes in.

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I wanna sell this.

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We think it's gonna go within this range.

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How do you start identifying that when you're dealing with

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one-offs or something that's 60 years old and nobody's seen it in

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30 years, very difficult.

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And, some auction houses give no estimates, some give a price, plus,

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so a thousand up, we've always been about a very structured here.

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Here's a number range.

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And we use comps.

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We use our pair sales, we use other sales, we use all kind of different

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factors, but when it comes to those one of a kind pieces, there have been

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a few that we put an open estimate on because it just was really that unknown.

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I saw that

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once.

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I can't remember what it was.

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I do remember that

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Martin Luther king document, we did one of the bay booth.

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There's not a couple of the bay booth buttons that have never sold.

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So we did, but for the most part, we try to put some kind of range on it.

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And that's an educated gift.

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There are plenty of things that.

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so well above that, as we saw again, go back to star wars, Hey,

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keep going back to star wars.

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But that's case in point, this time to so many things went above estimate.

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And a lot of that was even apples.

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Sometimes it's apples oriented.

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Sometimes it's apples to donuts.

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There's such, such a wide range that it is hard to do that, but we feel

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it's important to put that out there.

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Just give some kind of idea of what we think the value is.

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Ultimately it is up to the bidders to decide.

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There's again, there's no right or wrong to any of this.

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It's just what works for each auction house.

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And so we've always done estimates and tried to hit the mark as best we can.

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Do you ever get where

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imagine tracking other auction houses and stuff like that?

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Do you ever see something you're like.

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I'd like to get one of those over here and try to sell it myself

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and see what it goes for.

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Do you have oh, sure.

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Every day.

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Look, I take everything in the heart.

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Every time I see an item at another auction that I think we could do as

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good or better, I don't like that.

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Okay.

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So yes, I'm, again, in this business and the state with things, you've

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gotta watch what's going on everywhere.

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So all of us here that handle items and consignment managers and so

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forth, we all watch every auction.

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We've gotta keep our finger on the pulse.

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And many times that we are in the running with an item for another

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auction house and it goes there.

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And again, that doesn't make me happy because I want it all,

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Do you gotta, do you have a grail item that you're like, man, I'd

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like to get my hands on one of

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these and have it come through here.

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We've never offered an action one.

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I would like we had a detective 27 a few years ago.

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I would like a nice copy of action.

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One.

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That would just be cool because But, there's so much artwork that I love

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and there's so many I could go on for five days of what I'd like to,

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I'd like to offer Mickey man, rookie.

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We've never done.

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I'd like to offer some of the key pieces and the good thing with that

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is again, with so much competition in the auction world, you gotta prove

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what you can do to get the item.

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So when we don't have items, sometimes people aren't sure about trying

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it with us, but you look at some of the things that we have sold

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for rec captain American shield.

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We had a few props here and there ne never anything of that caliber

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and we shattered all expectations.

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So if we get it, we're gonna do a good job with it.

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Cool.

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Yeah.

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Funny story.

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You're talking about action one and he's talking about action.

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One is the first appearance of Superman.

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So there was another site that I sometimes track, but they annoy

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me with way too many emails.

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So I don't pay attention to

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that much.

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Anything.

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I wouldn't know who you're talking about.

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it's not you

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guys

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Yeah, no.

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Uh, and they actually.

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I laugh at this because I actually put a bit on it to see what would happen.

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And I forgot what it went for.

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Somebody had taken an action comics, one that was in very bad shape and

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started selling 'em by the page , which is a common I'd seen that before.

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The thing that I had not seen though, that this is the first time they had taken

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the removed staples and the trimmings from where they cleaned up the edges and stuck

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'em in a baggie and said, we are selling what I called a bag of trash, essentially

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from action comics, number one.

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And the opening bid was 20 bucks or something like that.

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know I put 20 bucks in or 30 bucks in I'm just because it was stupid.

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It went for several hundreds of dollars and it was you're talking,

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it was legitimately rusted out staples and some essentially paper

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trimmings that somebody had cut.

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And that may be the weirdest thing I've seen.

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Related to that you triggered that.

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But again, somebody wanted it, right?

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Somebody wanted it 500 of dollars got into this industry.

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One of the first things I did was I would go through, at that time, there were lots

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of trade publications, and I would go through all those and look at the want

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ads to get names, to send catalogs to.

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And one guy said, I collect Barb wire.

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He collected 12 inch pieces of Barb wire.

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They all looked the same to me, but to again, to him, this was, so I thought

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even as a collector, I thought it was unusual, but yes, he would think that's

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unusual that you want an action figure.

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So it's all relative to what you like, what you want to me.

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I would rather have a full copy of action one than just pieces.

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But again,

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I was trying to get a couple of the pages until then it went through the roof.

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I used to joke when this all happened with the pages, because

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again I get it, but it's not for me.

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I wouldn't want a page from a comic.

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I want the whole comic or nothing at all, but I joked at that.

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With someone buy half of a homeless Wagner, guess what?

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Not that long ago, someone bought a portion of a homeless Wagner for $400,000.

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So yeah.

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These days nothing surprises me.

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It's all fair game.

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Yeah, no, that's crazy.

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One last question just on the the bidding process and the time, like most auction

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places you get that, I would imagine an initial serves of bids on the first

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day or so that your auction goes live.

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It goes very quiet until the last several hours.

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And you guys do real, roughly what?

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A two week?

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A two week opening close three weeks period, three, three week, three weeks.

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Yeah.

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Three opening to close period.

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Is there a particular reason of three weeks versus two or a month

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or?

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I think it a long time ago before the internet, we used

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to actually do four weeks.

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We cut that down to three.

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That just seemed like the right time period that once

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you go online, that's when you.

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Everybody looking at your auction, not only bidders, but from a PR standpoint.

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So it gives us plenty of time to get our word out there and build things.

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But you're right.

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The first day, the first few days, lots of people come and bid.

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Some of them do exactly what you do.

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They put in a token bitches to see, or they, we have plenty of people that

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believe it or not, they don't even want to mess with this auction game.

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So they will say, here's my max bid, put it in and walk away.

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And they don't have to think about again.

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So that happens.

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And then for a couple weeks, bidding is it's back and forth,

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can be later days, heavier days.

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It depends.

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But yes.

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Then we come into those closing days and I would say as much as 40% of our

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bidders in any given auction, only bid on those days, they wait that long.

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Some of them also wait till the very final hour.

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So at 9:00 PM on, we usually have two closing days for

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the main auctions at 9:00 PM.

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On a Tuesday and 9:00 PM on a Wednesday, we start a 20 minute clock

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on every item and when 20 minutes pass with no bids, those items close.

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So it ends in stages nine 20 and so on and so forth takes us a couple hours

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past that till the final item closes.

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A lot of people wait till nine 19 to put their bid in because they

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have the eBay night mentality.

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That was gonna say all that does for Russ is it starts it

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over for another 20 minutes.

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So there's no that happened with the Bette this time.

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It was at a hundred thousand going into the last minute and we thought

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maybe that's where it's gonna end.

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Then a little bidding war happened.

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And, but these guys were going back and forth and waiting in 20 minutes.

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Maybe hoping another would fall asleep.

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I don't know, but nobody did it.

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It just the late auction, as long as it's been for quite some time.

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And that's fine because it's a $200,000 even end.

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But yeah, so the last day is really when the most action happens.

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And especially in that last hour or so you can see things just go crazy

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that we're sitting there for so long.

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So you sit there and so on closing days, or like you and the team sitting around

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the computers and you've got your, you got, you're like hot button items.

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You're like, I really wanna see where this goes and what happens,

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where you're like watching

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it in real time.

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We're watching real time.

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And we have to, because we're not only taking internet bids, we have plenty

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people to still call on the phone.

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Oh really?

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Okay.

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Yeah, we do.

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And we also have a call back service.

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So if you were out bid, we will call you back.

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So we've gotta minor all the bids that are coming in just for those reasons.

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So that's another reason why we have 20 minutes restart because we're

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not just taking bids on an internet.

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It's not ending one at a time.

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We have other variables we have to factor in, and it also gives

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the bitter time to think about it.

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So maybe they did put their bid in and walk away, but now they

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see it has exceeded that price.

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And they'll think about it.

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And again, consignors like the fact that we don't close so quickly and

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definitively so that they have a chance to get the most for their item

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and it's, and again, it's fair for the, some bidders may not like that.

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It starts over again for 20 minutes, but Hey, this is an auction and it's fair for

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every bidder to have every opportunity to get their bid in and some do some

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think about it and we'll come back in.

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And again, the 20 minute clock, it's not like it extends it forever.

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Usually 10 30, 11 after starting at nine, the auction is over 1130.

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This last time, it was ready after midnight that's long, but the

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longest it's gone in a while, but it's not like it keeps happening.

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It in the very old days when we were just doing phone bids, it really would

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go 24 hours plus continuously because we have the east coast bid west coast

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bid overseas bid starts over again.

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So we would be there 24 hours plus.

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At that point, we had a 10 minute clock between items and it would

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take 26, 28 hours sometimes to have it finally wind down.

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No that's.

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And I like the 20 minutes.

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Cause going back to that eBay night thing where someone get something in

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there at the last second as it just ends and then you get potential delays.

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Cause I've been on some stuff where people are doing like the live auction,

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like you are sitting there, you're legitimately auctioned off an item,

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but there's a major lag where I see it.

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I see something five minutes before you do or not five minutes,

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but 10 seconds before you.

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And it made the gigantic difference, and so having that clock, I think also makes

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it, like I said it's fair on all parties

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and you know, again, I warn anybody listening to the

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bids with us, the long you.

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The more chance there is some type of technical issue too, right?

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Yeah.

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So since it is no sniping and you won't get in there and don't

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take a chance and wait until last second, cuz anything could happen.

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So I'm not saying bid on the first day, if you don't want, but that last

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day be a little more proactive and don't wait so long to put the bids

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in because a lockup could happen.

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Anything could happen on your end, our end with computers and then what, and

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that's why we have so many phone bidders.

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There are people that still don't trust technology.

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And Alex told me leading up to this, he goes, I don't do

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technology I don't do, I don't do high to me.

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High tech is a nice turntable, right?

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So Adam wants, I don't like technology, but with this hurt

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thing and it's, that's not my back.

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I've gotta staff that can handle it again.

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Social media, I got a staff that can handle it and that's all well and good.

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And I'll do my thing as well.

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That's awesome, Alex.

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I appreciate the time today.

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Normally what happens?

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I usually go Hey, where do they connect you with on social media?

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I'm not gonna do that in this case.

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And I'm just gonna say everybody needs to go to hicks.com.

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How's that sound simple.

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Simple for me.

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Love it.

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hicks.com.

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I'll make sure the links in

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the, in the show notes.

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And we do we have Facebook?

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We have Twitter.

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We have Instagram.

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We do all that.

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The comp the

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company does.

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Yes.

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The company does.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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me personally, no, send me a letter.

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That's how I do.

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that?

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That's awesome.

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Again.

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Appreciate the time.

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Yeah.

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Thank you so much.