Part 3 - the problems
Now on to the day itself. I talked to 2 newspaper reporters. I don't know who else was there from the media. I know the New York Times and Courier News (Central NJ) covered the event. I was quoted in the Times.
There were about 100 people there. A few families with kids came to look, some collectors, and some fans. When I asked if there were any smaller signs from Shea, Barry Meisel told me that the smaller signs sold out mostly (he thinks) because of their size - smaller is easier to store/hand and easier to transport - rather than the price. I'm sure price was part of it too (though both answers were correct in my case when I bought my small ramp sign).
Since we were there all afternoon and during the morning, MeiGray set up one of the Roosevelt Ave Pub carts for cold drinks and hot dogs ($1.00 and $2.00 respectively).
Most items were laid out around the warehouse open for people to see and inspect. Obviously, there were no problems with people taking pictures. Most items were grouped together, but some of the photos and banners weren't (the banners were spread out along the walls).
The group (auctioneer up on a ladder with a microphone) just kept moving around the warehouse to try to follow the numerical order of the lots. Up one row, right turn, down the back, right turn, down the side, etc.
I've never been to an auction, but the rule here was deposits in $100 increments after a winning bid, and you need to tell the auctioneer your name for the record. Book keeping was done later. Cash was appreciated.
There were about 600 lots. Some lots were a single item (a single photo), and others were a set of 2 or 3 or 5 or 6 of the same type of item (6 photos together, for example, or 3 ramp signs together). Bidding was on the price to pay for each item, having to purchase all of the items. Some of the things they had many of were just in piles of 6 or 20 or 40, considered a single lot, and there were 5 or 6 lots of similar piles (for instance, 200 box seat rail elbows broken into 10 lots of 50 pieces). The lots of multiple photos weren't exactly photos of the same theme (for instance, a Gil Hodges photo and a Kevin McReynolds photo together). Get the idea? I eventually got it.
How stuff sold:
Most stuff did sell. A few items had a real bidding war. For instance...
- Most of the photo-based items started bidding at $25, went down to $10 before someone bit, and at best got up to $50 (in most cases). A few didn't sell.
- The ramp signs started at $100, went down to $25, and most sold for well under $100 each (these were packaged in lots of 3 signs).
- One piece of the foul poll sold for $500 and another for $1000.
- From the vinyl banners, most didn't break $100. Nobody bid on the one of Benitez. There was a nice 12' x 10' Doc Gooden banner (circa 1993) sold for $185. Even the prints of the artist's rendition of Citi Field sold (one lot for $12.50).
- At least one food cart went for $900.
- Lockers went for about $50 each, for the first few, then no interest. Maybe 25 total, less than 10 sold.
- The Nolan Ryan locker went for $1900 and the Tom Seaver locker went for $2600.
- Unfortunately, I didn't stick around to see the outfield wall sell or the big 2000 NL Championship flag sell.