Heritage Auctions

American fine art and collectibles auction house

Heritage Auctions
HA logo.png
Heritage Auctions 2020 view small.jpg
TypePrivate 22
Founded1976; 46 years ago (1976) in Dallas, Texas, U.S.
FounderSteve Ivy
(founder and CEO)
Jim Halperin
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
ProductsAntiques and collectibles

Heritage Auctions is an American multi-national auction house based in Dallas, Texas. Founded in the 1970s and 1980s from a partnership between two rival collectors, Heritage is an auctioneer of numismatic collections, comics, fine art, books, luxury accessories, real estate, and memorabilia from film, music, history, and sports.


Heritage Auctions was formed from a partnership between two collectors, Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin.[1] In 1967, Ivy dropped out of the University of Texas at Austin to form Steve Ivy Rare Coin Co. in Dallas, Texas.[2] In 1971, Halperin founded New England Rare Coin Galleries while still a freshman at Harvard University and would also later drop out of school. It was Ivy who first formed Heritage Auctions in Dallas in 1976[1] from his earlier, smaller business. The two bitter rivals often met at industry trade shows and auctions. In 1982, Halperin sold his Boston-based business and moved to Dallas to join Ivy and Heritage Auctions; with him, he brought Marc Emory, a partner who heads what is now part of Heritage's European operations. Greg Rohan joined the company in 1986 and is now president of the company.[2][3] Besides Ivy, Halperin, Rohan, and Emory, the company includes four other partners: Paul Minshull, Ryan Carroll, Todd Imhof, and Cristiano Bierrenbach.[2]

In 1996, the company launched a website to allow the sale and purchase of coins in online auctions. This allowed Heritage to grow its list of potential sellers and buyers. At the urging of Halperin, Heritage began expanding its business model to include collectibles beyond numismatics by first including auctions of comic books in 2001. The company launched a memorabilia department in 2003 and its first auction was valued at about $2 million.[2] In the mid-2000s, Heritage entered the music, entertainment, and film memorabilia market. By April 2006, the auction house was holding its third biennial auction of collectibles that once belonged to famous actors, musicians, directors, and other filmmakers. The collections sold at the auctions included many props, set pieces, and apparel from the sets of notable films and television series in history as well as personal effects of several musical artists.[1] In 2010, Heritage launched its luxury items division, which includes jewelry, handbags, and other accessories.[4] In some instances, rare items from these auctions have sold for over two hundred thousand dollars.[5] By 2013, the auction house was also auctioning modern and contemporary art including works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Joan Mitchell, and Edward Ruscha.[6]

Right after the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, between April 20th and 27th, the auction house's online sales totaled $41 million, 10% of the annual online sales of the previous year ($483 million in 2019).[7]


On June 1, 2020, as a cost-cutting measure, Heritage Auctions consolidated three Dallas-area locations to a new world headquarters in Irving, located at the northwest corner of West Airport Freeway and Valley View Lane near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.[8] The 160,000 square foot facility is located in the DFW Airport international trade zone and will house 450 of the company's 600 employees.[9] The company also has offices in New York located on Park Avenue.[2] Its New York operations are mostly geared towards the fine arts industry.[10] Heritage has a West Coast location in Beverly Hills, California, located on Olympic Boulevard.[2] In 2011, Heritage acquired Greg Martin Auctions in San Francisco, California, forming the auction house's division specializing in weapons and armament.[11]

Heritage expanded operations by adding an office in Hong Kong in 2015.[12] In spring 2017, the company formed a Florida branch with offices in Palm Beach.[13] In January 2017, company opened an office in Chicago.

Notable auctions

  • In October 2011, Heritage auctioned the personal property and movie memorabilia of the actor John Wayne for $5.4 million. The beret he wore in The Green Berets fetched $179,250.[14] The following month, a copy of Action Comics #1, previously owned by Nicolas Cage, sold for $2.16 million, beating the previous record price for the comic of $1.5 million.[15]
  • In December 2015, an auction brought in more than $3 million for memorabilia from Sylvester Stallone's personal collection.[16]
  • A baseball-themed print by American illustrator Norman Rockwell was sold by Heritage Auctions in August 2017 for $1.6 million. The work was a study of Rockwell's Tough Call.[17]
  • In a continuing series of auctions starting in 2018, Heritage Auctions is auctioning a collection of memorabilia from the estate of Neil Armstrong, who died in 2012.[18][19] The event was the first ever auction of the astronaut's personal collection and is billed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon in 1969.[19] About 3,000 items were up for auction[20] and, as of October 2019, the auctions have brought in about $12 million.[21]
  • In January 2019, a rare 1943 Lincoln cent sold at Heritage auction for $204,000. The copper coin was created in error in 1943, when copper was meant to be reserved for the war effort.[22][23] An original 1930 ink-on-paper drawing from the first Tintin comic book, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, was sold by Heritage Auctions in June 2019.[24][25] On November 20, 2019, Blueberry Custard (1961) by Wayne Thiebaud sold at a Heritage auction for $3.225 million, the second highest price brought in for a piece by the artist from Sacramento, California.[26] The next day a near-mint condition Marvel Comics #1 sold for $1.26 million, setting the record for the most expensive Marvel comic sold in a public auction.[27]
  • On December 13, 2020, a Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card sold for $1.29 million, becoming the most expensive hockey card sold at auction and the first to break the million-dollar barrier.[28]
  • A US $20 bill with a Del Monte sticker sold for $396,000 on January 5, 2021 becoming the most expensive error note sold.[29]
  • A near-mint copy of Batman #1 from 1940 sold on January 14, 2021, for $2.22 million, setting a world record for a Batman comic book and the second most expensive comic ever sold at auction.[30]
  • A Pokémon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box sold for a world record-setting $408,000 on January 17, 2021.
  • On January 24, 2021, Heritage Auctions sold the world's most valuable gold coin, a 1787 New York-style Brasher Doubloon, for $9.36 million.[31]
  • A signed Michael Jordan card fetched $1.44 million on February 4, 2021, making it the most expensive Jordan card ever sold at auction.[32]
  • The Paramount Collection of world and ancient coins reached $41,941,592 on March 25–27, 2021, making it the most valuable world and ancient coins auction. The auction included a $2.28 million world record for the most expensive British coin ever sold at public auction.[33]
  • An original poster promoting a 1953 Hank Williams concert in Canton, Ohio on New Year's Day sold for a record $150,000 on May 1, 2021, beating out The Beatles as the world's most expensive concert poster ever sold at auction.[34]
  • The Joseph Christian Leyendecker painting Beat-up Boy, Football Hero, which appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, sold for a record $4.12 million on May 7, 2021. The previous world record for a J.C. Leyendecker original was set in December, when Sotheby's sold his 1930 work Carousel Ride for $516,100.
  • On May 9, 2021, a game-worn jersey belonging to Michael Jordan from his sophomore season at the University of North Carolina was sold for $1.38 million, making it the most expensive Jordan jersey sold.[35]
  • An unopened copy of Nintendo's Super Mario 64 from 1996 sold at auction for $1.56 million on July 11, 2021, a new record for a video game. The previous record was an unopened copy of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda which sold only two days earlier for $870,000.[36]
  • Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov's Nobel Peace Prize, sold to benefit refugees from Ukraine through UNICEF. The medal sold on June 21, 2022 for US$103.5 million, the highest price ever recorded for a Nobel medal.[37][38]


In 2009 Heritage Auctions was sued by former employee Gary Hendershott who alleged that the company engaged in fraud by using a shill bidder under the name "N.P. Gresham" to artificially increase bidding prices, an alleged violation of anti-racketeering laws.[39][40] The lawsuit was later settled out of court, though James L. Halperin said in sworn testimony that "N.P. Gresham" did not exist before later admitting that they did.

In 2012, the country of Mongolia sued Heritage Auctions for auctioning a 70-million-year-old fossil skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar (75% complete) because the specimen came from Mongolia where exports of fossils are prohibited.[41]

In 2014, Heritage Auctions sued Christie's for hiring its handbags expert, claiming it was a breach of contract and that trade secrets were stolen. Heritage Auctions also disliked Christie's intention to expand its existing handbag department.[42]

In 2016 Heritage Auctions sued Christie's along with its subsidy Collectrium for copyright infringement, claiming that Collectrium had inappropriately web-scraped three million of its listings. At the time, Collectrium was just bought by Christie's in 2015.[43][44] In 2019 a judge ruled that Collectrium had to pay Heritage Auctions close to $1.8 million of the $49 million Heritage initially sought. The judge dismissed Heritage's claims of trespassing, unfair competition, and civil conspiracy, and also ruled that only Collectrium had any liability.[45]

In December 2020, Heritage Auctions sold Margaret Keane's painting Eyes Upon You which had actually been stolen from its owner in 1972. Through an FBI-mediated process, the painting was restituted to the owner's daughter and the buyer was refunded.[46]

In August 2021 YouTuber Karl Jobst released a video that claimed that Heritage Auctions, along with the grading company Wata Games, had artificially created a collectable bubble in the sealed video game market through a conflict of interests.[47][48] In a statement to Video Games Chronicle released following the video's publication, Heritage Auctions denied engaging in any illegal or unethical practices. Wata Games also denied the claims made in the video.[49][47]


  1. ^ a b c Wilonsky, Robert (April 27, 2006). "History for Sale". Dallas Observer. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pate, Steve (November 2011). "Rich Heritage". D Magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  3. ^ Channick, Robert (January 19, 2017). "Heritage Auctions brings its paddles to Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Gustines, George Gene (December 6, 2010). "Market Watch: Bidding on Luxury". T Magazine. The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Fitzpatrick, Tommye (December 3, 2012). "First Look: Heritage Auctions's Holiday Luxury Items From Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton". ELLE. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Simek, Peter (May 21, 2013). "This Week Heritage Auctions Offers A Brief Look at a Trove of Modern and Contemporary Art". D Magazine. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Justin Kamp, Heritage Auctions brought in $41 million from online sales in a week, Artsy.net, 5 May 2020
  8. ^ "Dallas-Based Heritage Auctions Relocates World Headquarters to New, 160,000 Square-Foot Campus". Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Montes, Bianca R. (June 3, 2020). "Dallas-Based Heritage Auctions Relocates World Headquarters to New, 160,000 Square-Foot Campus". D Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Cascone, Sarah (September 23, 2015). "Heritage's First New York Modern Art Auction". Artnet News. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  11. ^ Smith, Scott S. (April 24, 2013). "Sold! Steve Ivy Lifts Heritage Auctions To No. 1". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Voien, Guelda (June 25, 2015). "Heritage Auctions Expands to Hong Kong". Observer. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  13. ^ Valverde, Miriam (March 23, 2016). "Heritage Auctions expands operations in Florida". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  14. ^ "John Wayne auction rustles up $5.4M". CBS News. Associated Press. October 11, 2011. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Silverleib, Alan (December 2, 2011). "Super price for Superman comic". CNN. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Sylvester Stallone's film memorabilia fetches $3 million at auction". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. December 22, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Richter, Marice; Herskovitz, Jon (August 21, 2017). Maler, Sandra (ed.). "'Print' on Texas family wall is original Rockwell, sells for $1.6 million". Reuters. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Neil Armstrong memorabilia fetches $7.5 million at auction". NBC News. Associated Press. November 4, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ a b Stuckey, Alex (November 2, 2018). "Neil Armstrong memorabilia brings more than $4 million in first day of Dallas auction". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  20. ^ Chang, Kenneth (September 28, 2018). "Neil Armstrong Walked on the Moon. To These Boys, He Was Just Dad". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  21. ^ Saker, Anne (October 23, 2019). "Get your bids ready: Fourth auction of Neil Armstrong's belongings begins Oct. 25". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Zetlin, Minda (July 18, 2019). "These valuable pennies are worth up to $200,000—and they might be in your pocket". CNBC. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ Simon, Darran (January 10, 2019). "Rare 1943 copper coin fetches a pretty penny in auction: $204,000". CNN. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ Kim, Allen (June 11, 2019). "Tintin original cover art bought at auction for more than $1 million". CNN. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ "'TinTin' artwork sells for $1.1 million at auction". Deutsche Welle. June 9, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ Ervin, Mack III (November 29, 2019). "Sacramento artist Thiebaud's Blueberry Custard fetches $3.225 million at auction". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved February 20, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Genovese, Daniella (November 22, 2019). "Marvel Comics 1 torches record with $1.26M sale at auction". FOXBusiness. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  28. ^ Leahy, Sean (December 11, 2020). "Wayne Gretzky rookie card sets record with $1.3M sale at auction". ProHockeyTalk | NBC Sports. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  29. ^ CoinNews.net. ""Del Monte" $20 Sets $396,000 World Record in Banknote Errors | CoinNews". Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  30. ^ "Holy hammer! Near mint copy of Batman #1 sells for record $2.2m at Heritage Auctions". www.theartnewspaper.com. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  31. ^ "Gold coins lose none of their shine as "Brasher" doubloon sells for a record price". MoneyWeek. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  32. ^ Block, Fang. "Autographed Michael Jordan Card Sells for $1.44 Million". www.barrons.com. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  33. ^ "NGC-certified Edward VIII Gold 5 Sovereign Realizes $2.28 Million, Smashing the Record for a British Coin Sold at Auction | NGC". www.ngccoin.uk. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  34. ^ Treadwell, Jaine (May 8, 2021). "Poster from Hank Williams' last concert sells for $150,000". The Troy Messenger. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  35. ^ "Michael Jordan's game-worn North Carolina jersey sold for record $1.38 million". CNN. Reuters. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  36. ^ "Unopened copy of Nintendo's Super Mario 64 from 1996 sells for $1.56 million". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  37. ^ Richardson, Kalia (June 21, 2022). "Russian Journalist's Nobel Medal Sells for $103.5 Million". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  38. ^ The Associated Press (June 20, 2022). "Nobel sold for Ukrainian kids shatters record at $103.5M". POLITICO. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  39. ^ Thackeray, Lorna. "Kortlander seeks role in auction suit". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  40. ^ Duin, Steve (September 15, 2009). "Lifting the Veil at Heritage Auctions?". oregonlive. The Oregonian. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  41. ^ Eric Nicholson, Heritage Auctions is Being Sued by Mongolia -- Yes, the Country -- Over the Sale of a Dinosaur, Dallasobserver.com, 21 May 2012
  42. ^ Julie Creswell, George Gene Gustines, High-End Hermès Handbags at Center of Suit Against Christie’s, Nytimes.com, 13 June 2014
  43. ^ "Auction Houses Face Off in Website Data Scraping Lawsuit". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  44. ^ "Christie's Buys Collectrium for $16 Million". Artnet News. February 11, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  45. ^ "A Christie's-Owned Tech Company Must Pay Heritage Auctions $1.8 Million for Data Theft, a Court Rules". Artnet News. August 1, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  46. ^ Stolen Artwork Sold at Auction To Be Returned to Woman Depicted in Painting, Nbcdfw.com, 21 July 2021
  47. ^ a b "YouTuber Accuses Million-Dollar Retro Game Sales Of Being Scams". Kotaku. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  48. ^ "The $2 Million Mario Bros. Auction May Have Been Rigged". Digital Trends. August 25, 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  49. ^ "Report alleges auction and grading 'fraud' is behind recent surge in retro game prices". VGC. August 25, 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2021.

External links

  • Official website