Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auction Galleries is the world's largest collectibles auctioneer and the third largest auction house, with over $700 million in annual sales and 600,000 online bidder-members. It is also the largest auction house founded in America.

Established in 1976 in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

 by Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin
James L. Halperin
James L. Halperin is an American author and businessman. In 1985 Halperin authored a text on grading coins, How to Grade U.S. Coins, upon which the grading standards of the two leading third-party grading services PCGS and NGC were ultimately based...

, Heritage specializes in Historical Memorabilia, American and Political Memorabilia, Western Photography and Artifacts, Rare Books & Manuscripts, American Indian Art, Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 Memorabilia, Natural History, Space Memorabilia, Fine and Decorative Art, Texas Art, Illustration Art, Silver, US and World Coins
ContextObjects in Spans, commonly abbreviated COinS, is a method to embed bibliographic metadata in the HTML code of web pages. This allows bibliographic software to publish machine-readable bibliographic items and client reference management software to retrieve bibliographic metadata. The...

, Comics
Comics denotes a hybrid medium having verbal side of its vocabulary tightly tied to its visual side in order to convey narrative or information only, the latter in case of non-fiction comics, seeking synergy by using both visual and verbal side in...

 & Comic Art, Currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

, Entertainment & Music Memorabilia, Jewelry & Timepieces, Handbags, Movie Posters, Sports Collectibles, Fine & Rare Wine and others.


Heritage Auction Galleries is a privately owned company, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas and offices in Houston, Texas as well as multiple locations in Germany, Switzerland, Holland and France. Heritage also opened a high-profile showroom in Beverly Hills, California in February 2010 and a ground-floor location on Park Avenue and 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan in September 2010.


Heritage combines both proxy and live Internet bidding with traditional floor auctions. In both 1999 and 2001, www.HeritageCoin.com, the predecessor to www.HA.com, was chosen by Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 Magazine as one of the 250 best sites on the Internet. According to Internet traffic measurement site Compete.com, HA.com receives significantly more traffic than Sothebys.com and Christies.com combined. Heritage hosts separate website sections for each type of collectible they support and each lot's web listing contains third-party pricing and rarity data.

In addition to live and online auctions, the various Heritage websites offer useful information for collectors. Some of the sites (coins, for example) have an extensive glossary of terms. Many lot descriptions contain interest stories related to the item. Also, there are archives of over 2,000,000 lots, permitting the collector to research items of interest for descriptions, images, population, pedigrees and prices realized in past auctions.

Significant auctions held through the firm include the Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage is an American actor, producer and director, having appeared in over 60 films including Raising Arizona , The Rock , Face/Off , Gone in 60 Seconds , Adaptation , National Treasure , Ghost Rider , Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans , and...

 comic book collection, which sold for $1.6 million in October 2002 as a part of the largest comic auction ever according to Guinness, the highest grossing numismatic
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the...

 auction (over $65.1 million at the 2007 Florida United Numismatists auction, not including currency), the highest grossing currency auction (over $14 million for the auction held at the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo in September 2006), and the highest price for an action figure ($200,000 for Don Levine's original G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe is a line of action figures produced by the toy company Hasbro. The initial product offering represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Action Soldier , Action Sailor , Action Pilot , Action Marine and later on, the Action Nurse...

 prototype in July 2003).

Notable Auctions

  • In April 2005, Heritage Auctions offered the microphone used by long time Tonight Show host Johnny Carson
    Johnny Carson
    John William "Johnny" Carson was an American television host and comedian, known as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for 30 years . Carson received six Emmy Awards including the Governor Award and a 1985 Peabody Award; he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987...

     on the show. Inscribed “Johnny’s Mic… Not Ed’s… Not Fred’s”, this relic of late night TV sold for $50,787.50. Six months later, Carson’s desk from the show appeared in a subsequent Heritage auction and sold for $38,837.50.

  • A twenty dollar bill
    Del Monte note
    The Del Monte Note is a misprinted U.S. twenty-dollar bill with a red, green, and yellow Del Monte banana sticker next to Andrew Jackson's portrait. The sticker became affixed to the note during the printing process. The error occurred after the face plate had been printed but prior to the...

    , printed in error over a Del Monte
    Del Monte Foods
    Del Monte Foods is an American food production and distribution company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Del Monte Foods is one of the country's largest producers, distributors and marketers of branded food and pet products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3.6...

     Banana sticker, caught the attention of collectors and non-collectors alike when it realized $25,300 in a Heritage Auction in January 2006.

  • The Buddy Holly
    Buddy Holly
    Charles Hardin Holley , known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll...

     Collection, personal artifacts consigned to Heritage Auctions directly from his wife Maria Elena
    Maria Elena Holly
    María Elena Holly is the widow of rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly. She owns the rights to his name, image, trademarks, and other intellectual property.-Early years:...

    , were offered in February 2006. A watch worn by Holly when his plane went down realized $155,350 in this auction.

  • Peter Fonda's
    Peter Fonda
    Peter Henry Fonda is an American actor. He is the son of Henry Fonda, brother of Jane Fonda, and father of Bridget and Justin Fonda...

     iconic American Flag Patch from the movie Easy Rider
    Easy Rider
    Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South with the aim of achieving freedom...

     sold for $89,625 in a 2007 Heritage Auction.

  • In October 2007, Heritage Auctions sold the flight log of the Enola Gay’s
    Enola Gay
    Enola Gay is a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, named after Enola Gay Tibbets, mother of the pilot, then-Colonel Paul Tibbets. On August 6, 1945, during the final stages of World War II, it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb as a weapon of war...

     navigator for $358,500.

  • The largest four tusk mastodon skull ever found realized $191,200 in a January 2008 Heritage auction, benefiting the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum in Crosbyton, TX
    Crosbyton, Texas
    Crosbyton is a city in and the county seat of Crosby County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,874 at the 2000 census. Crosbyton is part of the Lubbock Metropolitan Statistical Area....


  • In February 2008, a collection of the earliest US cents, 301 coins assembled by collector Walter J. Husak
    Walter J. Husak
    Walter J. Husak is the owner of an aerospace-part manufacturing company in Burbank, California. On February 15, 2008, an auction house sold his collection of 301 rare pennies in Long Beach, California. Two of the pennies went for $632,500 a piece...

     and minted between 1793 and 1814, brought in $10.7 million against pre-auction estimates of $7 million. According to Heritage Auctions president Greg Rohan, at that time this was the biggest result ever for a collection of cents.

  • Heritage Auctions has sold two examples of the legendary 1804 silver dollar
    1804 silver dollar
    The 1804 Silver Dollar is a United States dollar coin considered to be one of the rarest and most famous coins in the world, due to its unique history. Divided into "Classes," 15 specimens are known. Eight comprise Class I, which were minted in 1834. Two Class I specimens trace their lineage to the...

    . The Mickley-Hawn-Queller example, graded proof 62 NGC, realized $3,737,500 in April 2008, making it the third most valuable coin ever sold at auction according to A Guide Book of United States Coins. The Adams-Carter specimen, graded Proof 58 NGC, realized $2,300,000 in April, 2009.

  • When Playboy Enterprises
    Playboy Enterprises
    Playboy Enterprises, Inc. is a privately held global media and lifestyle company founded by Hugh Marston Hefner to manage the Playboy magazine empire. Its programming and content are available worldwide on television networks, Websites, mobile platforms and radio...

     decided to part with 17 pieces from their art collection, they contacted Heritage Auctions, who offered them in a March 2009 auction. These pieces realized a total of approximately $193,000. Since then, Heritage has auctioned several additional consignments for Playboy. On February 26, 2010 Heritage issued a separate catalog section of its Comics and Comic Art auction devoted exclusively to Cartoon Art from Playboy's archives, which realized $501,459, including a world record $179,250 for an Alberto Vargas
    Alberto Vargas
    Alberto Vargas was a noted Peruvian painter of pin-up girls. He is often considered one of the most famous of the pin-up artists...


  • Capt. Nathan Harlan, a soldier stationed in Iraq, owned a first edition volume of “The Federalist”
    Federalist Papers
    The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...

     that he had found at a garage sale. After doing research on the Internet, he chose Heritage Auctions, who waived their seller’s commission due to Capt. Harlan’s service. This book, originally estimated at $8,000-$12,000, realized $95,600 when the hammer finally fell in June, 2009.

  • Heritage Auctions was chosen to handle the estate of noted art collector Charles Martignette. The collection, which contains 4300 paintings from the likes of Alberto Vargas
    Alberto Vargas
    Alberto Vargas was a noted Peruvian painter of pin-up girls. He is often considered one of the most famous of the pin-up artists...

    , Gil Elvgren
    Gil Elvgren
    Gil Elvgren , born Gillette Elvgren, was an American painter of pin-up girls, advertising and illustration. Elvgren was one of the more important pin-up and glamour artists of the twentieth century. Today he is best known for his pin-up paintings for Brown & Bigelow...

    , and Norman Rockwell
    Norman Rockwell
    Norman Percevel Rockwell was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening...

    , was expected to bring in upwards of $20 million in a series of auctions. The first two auctions, which took place in July 2009, comprised about 350 works and realized $2.6 million. Subsequently, additional auctions have taken place, including a $4.5 million February 18, 2010 auction that included several hundred additional Martignette artworks, which comprised $2.68 million of that total.

  • On July 25, 2009, Heritage Auctions sold a Double Derringer belonging to John Dillinger
    John Dillinger
    John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. was an American bank robber in Depression-era United States. He was charged with, but never convicted of, the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana police officer during a shoot-out. This was his only alleged homicide. His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations...

     for $95,600, more than double the pre-auction estimate of $35,000-$45,000. Subsequently, Dillinger's sister's family has consigned their keepsakes, including many iconic items, which will be auctioned by Heritage in late 2009 and in 2010.

  • A Babe Ruth
    Babe Ruth
    George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

     game-used bat dating to the 1918 season sold in October 2009 for $537,750 in an auction held by Heritage Auctions. This bat served as the model for every future bat made for Ruth by the Hillerich & Bradsby
    Hillerich & Bradsby
    Hillerich & Bradsby Company is a company located in Louisville, Kentucky that produces the famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat. The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in downtown Louisville features a retrospective of the product and its use throughout baseball history...


  • In January 2010, the Olson Specimen of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel
    1913 Liberty Head Nickel
    The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is an American five-cent piece which was produced in extremely limited quantities without the authority of the United States Mint, making it one of the best-known and most coveted rarities in American numismatics...

     was sold through Heritage Auctions for $3,737,500. The owner's name has not been disclosed.

  • In February, 2010, the highest CGC-graded copy of Detective #27, the first Batman
    Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

     comic book, was offered in a Heritage Comic Books/Comic Art auction. It realized $1,075,500, the second highest price a comic book has ever been sold for (and the highest price ever at auction, by far), more than tripling the previous auction record for any comic book. The entire auction realized almost $5.6 million, also an all-time record.

  • In 2010, the Max Factor
    Max Factor, Sr.
    Max Factor , born Maksymilian Faktorowicz, was a successful Polish-Jewish businessman, cosmetician, chemist, wigmaker...

     Family in collaboration with Heritage Auctions of Beverly Hills held sales of important items in their private collection featuring jewelry, artwork and silver. All proceeds from these sales are designated to be divided among several Los Angeles area organizations including a large endowment to benefit Beverly Hills High School’s music program.

  • Original artwork by Hugh Joseph Ward, a piece called 'The Evil Flame' from the cover of the August 1936 Spicy Mystery Stories, sold for $143,400, setting a record for the highest price ever realized for a pulp magazine
    Pulp magazine
    Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

     cover in an August 2010 Heritage auction. In the same auction, pieces from Norman Saunders
    Norman Saunders
    Norman Blaine Saunders was a prolific commercial artist who produced paintings for pulp magazines, paperbacks, men's adventure magazines, comic books and trading cards...

     and Robert Fuqua also broke price records for the artists, at $50,788 and $27,485 respectively.


In May 2009, Gary Hendershott, a dealer in Civil War memorabilia and U.S. Western historical objects, issued a civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) lawsuit against Heritage for violating several Texas state laws. Amongst Hendershott’s allegations were that Heritage utilized shill bidding to increase prices, and that the Heritage failed to pay him commissions for the auction sales he had facilitated for the firm. Heritage vehemently denied the claims, terming them an elaborate ruse by Hendershott to avoid paying his bills. "Basically, it’s the plaintiff’s lawyer trying to wage a PR war to force us to the table to settle with his client, who owes us well over a million dollars.”

Hendershott’s lawsuits have been dismissed, without prejudice, by three different judges, and remanded to arbitration."

In early September 2009, a similar RICO complaint was filed against the firm by Chris Kortlander, a businessman from Montana who had once hired them. On September 25, 2009, all of Kortlander's claims were dismissed with prejudice.

On September 16, 2009 Heritage filed a motion asking for sanctions against Hendershott and his attorneys for misconduct.

On September 30, 2009 Heritage filed a lawsuit against Hendershott and his attorneys alleging defamation and civil extortion.

On April 7, 2010, Judge Solis of the US District Court entered a permanent injunction commanding Hendershott and anyone acting on his behalf to remove from the Internet all previously published false, misleading and/or disparaging statements regarding Heritage and enjoining them in the future to desist from making or distributing such statements. The RICO lawsuit and all claims against Heritage were also dismissed with prejudice.
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