New Luxury Item Sales Site

The Sun Sentinel recently posted on a new website which looks to connecting sellers of luxury items with auction houses worldwide. The site is called Auction House Portal. The site will start with luxury autos and then move into jewelry, fine wine, art and other items. According to the article there will be no fees to the seller, but the auction houses will pay a 10-20% fee to the site if there is a transaction.

The Sun Sentinel reports
There's a new website for people with that pesky problem of what to do with the vintage cars, jewels or fine art they no longer want.

Auction House Portal, launched Wednesday by the co-founders of Luxury Trading Club, is designed to connect sellers with auction houses worldwide. The website, auctionhouseportal.com is initially focused on high-end and vintage cars.

The Fort Lauderdale company is looking to disrupt the centuries-old auction house model, giving sellers the edge in auctioning their collector cars, jewelry, watches, fine art, wine and other luxury items.

"We believe our portal is poised to bring billions in valuables to market and may dramatically increase the number of sellers that utilize auction houses," said Warren Pickard, co-founder of the business with his wife, Annastassia Bojakli.

Auction House Portal is designed to make the auction house connection less expensive for both the seller and auction house, Pickard said.

He likens the business model to ride-sharing company Uber or lodging website Airbnb in that it "transforms an entire industry without a substantial investment — like Uber becoming the biggest taxi company in the world without owning a taxi."

Via the website, sellers "can research which auction house has the expertise and the best track record," he said. They also may pay a lower fee to the auction house because they're competing for the business.

For the auction house, the site provides leads on luxury items to add to their inventory. "Auction houses spend a fortune on marketing and advertising in order to find new items," Pickard said.

There's no cost to the seller, but Auction House Portal collects a 10 percent to 20 percent fee from the auction house when there is a transaction.

Pickard expects that the site will be used by individuals, estate managers and lawyers, banks, dealers, trusts, butlers, personal assistants, major collections and museums. Items, ranging in value from $25,000 to $10 million, are reviewed by Auction House's experts before they appear on the site.

Stan Crooks, who has been auctioning collector cars for Auction America in West Palm Beach for more than 20 years, said he welcomes any site that helps to direct business toward auctioneers. The trend over the past decade has toward Internet sales, but they can't provide the same services, he said.

Auction America, for example, offers pick-up, clean-up, and customer previews of its collector cars for sale. "Those are services you're not going to get on the Internet," he said.

But Auction House Portal won't be useful for everyone in the business of selling valuables.

Brigitte Morris, owner of Estate Sales of South Florida on Singer Island, said she doesn't sell estate items through auction houses because they often take 40 percent of the sale. "In the end, I don't make enough," she said.

Pickard and Bojakli initially launched Luxury Trading Club in October 2015, after moving to Fort Lauderdale in 2012. The couple has been winding down their cell tower business in Alberta, Canada, and has been developing new companies. Luxury Trading Club, a shopping site for luxury items including houses, yachts and cars, offers more than $50 billion in assets for sale.

But the couple realized that auction houses also were a big part of moving luxury items.

Now, if an item doesn't sell on Luxury Trading Club, the owner will be offered an opportunity to connect to an auction house listed on Auction House Portal, Pickard said.

Auction House Portal, a subsidiary of Luxury Trading Club, doesn't auction goods or execute transactions. The physical process of an auction is still done by the auction house, he said.

The company has launched a video that illustrates how the Auction House Portal process works: auctionhouseportal.com/how-it-works-2.
Source: The Sun Sentinel

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