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  #1  
Old 02-25-2021, 01:01 PM
doug.goodman doug.goodman is offline
Doug Goodman
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Default Auction House descriptions of items lacking obvious details

Apologies for this mini rant...

I understand when ebay or similar site descriptions are less than great, because many sellers are just selling as a hobby, but with "real" auction houses...

When you have a lot that contains multiple items WHY NOT LIST EACH OF THE ITEMS!!???

How hard can it be?

I can understand that there might not be room in the printed catalog, but on the website, there is no excuse, other than laziness and / or not doing their best to make as much money as possible for themselves and their consignor.

The more detailed the description, the more potential interest from buyers, and isn't that the main job of the auction house, to get as much interest from buyers as possible?

Recently, I didn't bid on a couple of lots in an auction because when I emailed them to ask about the specifics of the lot I got a quick response, which was appreciated, but was told "sorry, we're not in the office today" and since it was the last day of the auction, and I didn't want to buy a big lot that only contained stuff I already have, I passed.

I know, it's my own fault for not asking the question earlier, but...

1 - list all the items in the lot
2 - be in the office on the last day of the auction

If either of those lots had contained items that I am looking for, I would have pushed the final price on each of them to twice the hammer price, so the seller potentially lost a bunch of money, and the auction house lost their cut.

I of course still have money in my wallet, so no big deal on my end, since the chase is more fun than the catch anyway.

Every auction house is guilty of lacking on details, so this little rant isn't naming names, but three different houses have received emails from me in the last week asking questions that really shouldn't need to be asked.

Doug "just trying to help sellers make money" Goodman
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2021, 02:05 PM
x2drich2000 x2drich2000 is offline
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I get your point and I think you make a good argument, but let me ask you this, where do you draw the line? Do you expect the AH to describe every card in 1972 Topps set, how about a lot of 100 T206s, a group of 50 publications, etc. Do you expect the AH to spend the same amount of time on a $50k lot as a $120 lot? Don't know what you were looking at, but I think some reasonableness needs to factor in both the time to do the analysis/write up/scanning vs the anticipated sale of the item. An AH can't afford to spend 2 hours doing the write up for a lot they will only make $25. If you need more description, I think it is right of you to ask, but like you said, I think it falls on you a bit not to wait until the last day. Obviously, AH's should strive to meet the customers expectations whenever possible, but even if they were in the office, I'm not sure waiting until the last day would be best time to ask for descriptions.
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2021, 03:12 PM
Aquarian Sports Cards Aquarian Sports Cards is offline
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Ask me a question about an item in our auction with an hour left to go on closing night. I bet you get a complete answer. I know I'm not the only auction that would help you.
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  #4  
Old 02-25-2021, 03:20 PM
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D. Bergin D. Bergin is offline
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I've won lots of group lots in auctions where I was glad the auction house didn't describe the entirety of the lot. Otherwise I likely wouldn't have won those lots.
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  #5  
Old 02-25-2021, 03:29 PM
troutbum97 troutbum97 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Bergin View Post
I've won lots of group lots in auctions where I was glad the auction house didn't describe the entirety of the lot. Otherwise I likely wouldn't have won those lots.
^^ This ^^

I've been on both sides.

I've won solid larger lots at a discount due to limited information.

And once I asked the AH for additional photos of other key cards - which they gladly emailed me - but then they uploaded the same additional photos to the lot description page, sparking a bidding frenzy.

Last edited by troutbum97; 02-25-2021 at 03:30 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2021, 04:23 PM
doug.goodman doug.goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x2drich2000 View Post
I get your point and I think you make a good argument
I agree, and arguably you should have stopped typing at that point.

Quote:
but let me ask you this, where do you draw the line? Do you expect the AH to describe every card in 1972 Topps set, how about a lot of 100 T206s, a group of 50 publications, etc.
I don't expect them to describe every card, but I do expect them to let me know which cards are in the lot. Complete set is fine, but missing 5 (or 50) cards should list the missing cards, and yes I want a list of which 100 t206 cards are in the lot, don't you?

Quote:
Do you expect the AH to spend the same amount of time on a $50k lot as a $120 lot?
If I'm the consignor, I would expect the auction house to spend as much time on my $120 lot (which has a higher chance of having multiple items) as they do on a $50k lot, because the $50k lot is probably pretty self-explanatory.

Quote:
Don't know what you were looking at, but I think some reasonableness needs to factor in both the time to do the analysis/write up/scanning vs the anticipated sale of the item. An AH can't afford to spend 2 hours doing the write up for a lot they will only make $25.
I'm not asking for "analysis/write up/scanning", I'm asking for a list of what is in the lot. It takes less time to put a list of items in a lot description than it does to answer an email asking for a list of items, and then edit the auction description to add the list.

If they don't feel like the profit is enough to justify the minimum information that I am asking about, then they shouldn't have accepted the consignment.

I would bet that a lot of 100 t206 cards would get more bids if it included a list of the cards, than if the description is "100 random t206 cards that we are too lazy to list".

But obviously the person who wins that lot has a chance of getting a great deal, which is not the purpose of an auction house, from the perspective of all auction house consignors.

"Consign with us, we give great deals to bidders" : not the greatest slogan.

Quote:
If you need more description, I think it is right of you to ask, but like you said, I think it falls on you a bit not to wait until the last day. Obviously, AH's should strive to meet the customers expectations whenever possible, but even if they were in the office, I'm not sure waiting until the last day would be best time to ask for descriptions.
Yep, it does fall on me to ask the question in a timely fashion, WHEN THEY DIDN'T PROVIDE THE OBVIOUS INFO IN THEIR DESCRIPTION TO BEGIN WITH, and if they don't want my money badly enough to be in their office to answer last minute questions from potential bidders. And I'm realistic, if I'm asking about that $50k item, they probably will take a trip into the office...


Ultimately, my point (that you seem to be missing) is that the seller of two recent lots MIGHT have doubled his money (or more) IF the description of their items had included the specific contents of the lot.

Doug

Last edited by doug.goodman; 02-25-2021 at 04:29 PM. Reason: To be snarky
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  #7  
Old 02-25-2021, 04:32 PM
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Butch7999 Butch7999 is offline
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Could not agree more strongly with Doug here.
Could also go on a rant of our own about how a certain highly-regarded sports auction house completely mishandled
the auction(s) of the memorabilia estate consigned to them by the widow of a late collector friend -- incomplete listings
just the start of the butchery -- but, rules...
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2021, 04:38 PM
Orioles1954 Orioles1954 is offline
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I write all of the card lots for H&S and we probably do more “shoebox” collections than anyone else in the industry. All pre-war lots have each and every card listed. All sets and post-war lots have counts and key cards listed and graded. All vintage near sets with more than 90% completion have missing cards listed. Designated treasure chests or balance of collection lots will be much more vague as mystery sells in this hobby.

Last edited by Orioles1954; 02-25-2021 at 04:46 PM.
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  #9  
Old 02-25-2021, 05:30 PM
Aquarian Sports Cards Aquarian Sports Cards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troutbum97 View Post
^^ This ^^

I've been on both sides.

I've won solid larger lots at a discount due to limited information.

And once I asked the AH for additional photos of other key cards - which they gladly emailed me - but then they uploaded the same additional photos to the lot description page, sparking a bidding frenzy.
I can tell you if someone asks for more information I assume other people would want the same information or else nobody would've asked and I add it to the lot description. I am sure stuff slips through the cracks, but if you help me out by calling attention to it, I have a duty to my consignor.
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and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecollectorconnectionauctions
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  #10  
Old 02-25-2021, 05:44 PM
Orioles1954 Orioles1954 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquarian Sports Cards View Post
I can tell you if someone asks for more information I assume other people would want the same information or else nobody would've asked and I add it to the lot description. I am sure stuff slips through the cracks, but if you help me out by calling attention to it, I have a duty to my consignor.
Good point. We do the same thing if it is pertinent information.
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  #11  
Old 02-25-2021, 08:40 PM
doug.goodman doug.goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orioles1954 View Post
Designated treasure chests or balance of collection lots will be much more vague as mystery sells in this hobby.
Those lots are all about the mystery, and not subject to my original rant, although I assume that if somebody were to ask a specific question it would get answered.
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2021, 08:58 PM
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ValKehl ValKehl is online now
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My pet peeve is is an auction house that shows a pic of only the front of a card, especially for a card that back printing variations, such as an E121-80 card. Hunt Auctions does this frequently in its monthly auctions, but I will give Hunt kudos for always sending me additional pic(s) when I so request. However, I will NEVER consign to an auction house that does this.
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  #13  
Old 02-25-2021, 09:05 PM
Orioles1954 Orioles1954 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug.goodman View Post
Those lots are all about the mystery, and not subject to my original rant, although I assume that if somebody were to ask a specific question it would get answered.
We do our best
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  #14  
Old 02-25-2021, 09:27 PM
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perezfan perezfan is offline
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As a consignor, I would make them fix the description, and perhaps even post additional photos. Heck, I would even write the description for them, if they left out something pertinent or important.

So basically, I agree with Doug "The voice of reason" Goodman.
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