After Move Into Contemporary Art, Heritage Auctions Posts $860 Million in Sales

Caitlyn Jenner's Olympic trophy was a big get for the house.

Robert Motherwell, Untitled (Ochre with Black Line), 1972–73/1974. Photo: Heritage Auctions.
Robert Motherwell, Untitled (Ochre with Black Line), 1972–73/1974. Photo: Heritage Auctions.

Heritage Auctions posted its second best year since its inception in 1976, with a reported $860 million in sales. The Dallas-based auction house saw growth in the sports memorabilia department, while U.S coins continue to make up the largest market, accounting for $254 million in sales. World and ancient coins similarly accounted for a solid $43 million.

Heritage made waves this fall when it assembled its first New York contemporary art auction, at which a Robert Motherwell painting led the pack at $965,000. The sale grossed $3.85 million overall, and also featured work by Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Gorky.

The 1984 Summer Olympics Torch that Bruce Jenner carried through Lake Tahoe. Photo: Heritage Auctions.

The 1984 Summer Olympics Torch that Bruce Jenner carried through Lake Tahoe was sold this year at Heritage.
Photo: Heritage Auctions.

The auction house has also been strategic in its consignments in other departments, making headlines in July with the sale of Caitlyn (then Bruce) Jenner’s 1984 Olympic torch, which sold for just under $24,000. Sports collectibles auction sales increased overall by 41 percent to over $42 million. Another noteworthy sale in that department was that of a Super Bowl XX ring belonging to Chicago Bears star William Perry. It fetched $203,150.

“The total prices realized in sports memorabilia are the most impressive overall,” said CEO Steve Ivy in a statement. “Our sports department showed growth in every segment, posting especially impressive growth in online-only catalog auctions.”

Ivy stated that most sectors of the business have seen an upswing and that coins have always been the “soul” of the business.

The 1963 Batmobile sold this year at Heritage Auctions. Photo: courtesy Heritage Auctions.

The 1963 Batmobile sold this year at Heritage Auctions.
Photo: courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Other growing markets for the auction house include comics and comic art, up 10 percent from last year at $34 million; movie posters brought in $7.4 million; Americana and political memorabilia saw $5.2 million in sales; and rare books totaled $4.2 million.

Heritage expanded its international presence in 2015 as well, opening new offices in Hong Kong and Amsterdam.


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