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% of all sales, the highest dollar volume, and percentage of sales for the auction house.
“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% of the world’s auction market for U.S. rare coins, according to Heritage. Among these record sales was the 1885 Trade dollar graded NGC PR66, which realized $3,960,000; and a 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar, which sold for a record $108,000, making it the most expensive coin of its type.
High profile sales in world and ancient coins surpassed $59 million, while auction sales through the firm’s comics and comic art department soared to a record $79,332,770, with sell-through rates exceeding 99% 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% above the department's previous record of $58,544,323 which was set in 2018.
The most notable lot to come from the department was Frank Frazetta’s 1969 masterpiece, Egyptian Queen. This piece sold for $5.4 million and currently holds the 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. Top sales included the $2,580,000 auction of Lou Gehrig’s 1937 game-worn New York Yankees jersey and a Heisman Trophy which reached $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 saw Armstrong’s personal, module-flown medal sold to a private collector for $2,055,000.
Fine art sales surged $10 million to $60.4 million, a 20% 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.