Heritage Auctions, HA.com, announced its total annual sales for 2019 surpassed $824.7 million, on strong results and several high-profile, world-record setting sales.
Heritage recorded total sales of $824,761,706 in the 2019 calendar year, comprised of $559,931,610 in auction sales and $256,991,331 in private sales. Total sales online reached a company record of $483,857,445, or 58 percent of all sales, the highest dollar volume and percentage of sales of any auction house in the world.
“We set several world records last year and our overseas offices continue to grow at a steady pace, all of which helped our sales hold strong amidst a choppy economy,” said Jim Halperin, Co-Founder of Heritage Auctions. “These results and our long-term investments in the business have positioned us for a strong 2020.”
The firm’s core category, rare U.S. Coins, generated $181.3 million in auction sales, giving Heritage Auctions 55 percent of the world’s auction market for U.S. rare coins. Heritage sold the market’s most valuable U.S. rare coin in 2019: the finest-known 1885 Trade dollar, graded NGC PR66, which realized a record $3,960,000. Additional records include three other seven-figure coins, as well as the April sale of a 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar, which sold for a world record $108,000, making it the most expensive coin of its type.
High-profile sales in World & Ancient Coins surpassed $59 million. Continued investment in the category recently offered clients a new online feature that displays high-quality photographs of World & Ancient coins taken by independent third-party grading companies, whenever they are available for internet auction lots.
Auction sales through the firm’s Comics & Comic Art Department soared to a record $79,332,770, with sell-through rates exceeding 99 percent as measured both by value and by number of lots. The total was the highest ever in the 18-year history of the department, and represented a jump of more than 35 percent above the department's previous record of $58,544,323 which was set in 2018.
The most notable world record to come from the department was the $5.4 million sale of Egyptian Queen, 1969, the Frank Frazetta masterpiece, which now holds the world record as the most expensive piece of original comic art ever sold at auction.
Sales of Sports Collectibles and Memorabilia exceeded $70 million from more than 23,000 lots. World records include the most expensive post-war baseball jersey following the $2,580,000 auction sale of Lou Gehrig’s 1937 game worn New York Yankees jersey. A record price for a Heisman Trophy was set in October when bidding for the trophy awarded to Ricky Williams closed at $504,000.
A significant contributor to sales was the number of private collections Heritage brought to market in 2019. Among them, The Neil Armstrong Family Collection™ recorded by far and away the world’s most expensive Gold Robbins Medal ever offered at auction. Armstrong’s personal, module-flown medal sold in July to a private collector for $2,055,000.
Fine art sales surged $10 million to $60.4 million, a 20 percent increase over 2018. Notable sales included Blueberry Custard, 1961, by Wayne Thiebaud, which set a house record for its most expensive piece of Modern and Contemporary Art at $3,255,000.