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my consignment experience with

Classic Auctions

Disclaimer

This is my personal experience with Classic Auctions in Delson, QC. 

my story

 

I’ve been a customer of Classic Auctions as far back as the 1990’s. If I recall, my first purchases were on what may have been Marc’s first auction that ran in Sports Collectors Digest (SCD). I still have the items I won.

I mention this so you appreciate how long I have been a customer.

on april 3, 2017, I submitted this request on their website

I have up to four items I am thinking of consigning in your next major auction. Items are as follows: Steve Smith red Chicago Blackhawks game worn jersey from the 1990’s. LOA from then GM of the Blackhawks, Bob Murray. Brad Marsh white Philadelphia Flyers game worn jersey from the late 1980’s. No LOA. Scott Stevens red New Jersey Devils game worn jersey, worn in the exhibition season. The jersey is not sewn on. All numbers and cresting are basically iron on. This comes with full authentication from MeiGray. It also includes a LOA from Lou Lamarillo, then GM of the New Jersey Devils. Curtis Joseph white St. Louis Blues game worn jersey. No LOA. This is an interesting piece. Autographed on the inside, this may be the first jersey he ever wore with St. Louis. Instead of his traditional #31, it is #33. His nameplate on the back is tacked on over another nameplate. It has both the Barclay Plager and Dan Kelly shoulder patches. Autographed by Joseph on the inside, under the crest. Most intriguing is it appears to be the same jersey he is wearing on the 1990-91 Score Hockey. You can see the patch on his left shoulder, and he is wearing #33. Can you tell me if you are interested, and what your consignment fee would be on each and all of these items? Also, please outline any other hidden charges that may be applied to me, such as authentication, etc. Also, will you have a representative coming out to the Summit Show in Edmonton, on April 22nd?

I recieved this reply to my submission

Hey Bob,
 
This is really awesome stuff, really interesting, would love to have them for the coming auction,
 
I personally will be coming to the show in Edmonton but at that point, it might be a bit late to consign these items for the Spring auction, would you consider shipping them to us ?   would you be comfortable with that ?
 
Also, I would offer you a 10% commission rate for these items with absolutely no other fees, is that about what you were hoping for ?
 
Let me know when you get a chance,
 
Thanks 

By April 4, 2017, we has come to an agreement on a sellers fee of 7.5%, and I shipped the jerseys to Classic.

three of the items were placed in the fall 2017 auction

Curtis Joseph

Brad Marsh

Scott Stevens

for some reason, the Steve Smith Jersey was not placed in that auction

The final selling price of $1,264.00 for the Curtis Joseph jersey was a little disappointing, considering in their Fall 2016 auction, his non-rookie jersey sold for $11,357. However, that jersey had a team LOA. This is a good indicator of the value that a team LOA brings to a jersey at auction.

Patiently I waited for the Steve Smith Chicago Blackhawks jersey to be auctioned, but nothing. There had been no communications. At the time of this writing, Classic has now run over 7 auctions since the jerseys arrived at their door.

the

Emails

finally on february 4, 2019, I sent the following email to debbie nault

February 4

Hi Debbie,

Sorry to bother you in the middle of the current auction, but I do have a question. I am wondering if you might have an estimate on when my Steve Smith Chicago jersey that I consigned a while back might be included in one of your auctions?

Thanks

February 11

I received this reply:

Good Afternoon Mr. xxxxxx, 

I have checked and they are still doing research on the Steve Smith jersey.

Do you happen to have any paper work for this? Do you have any information to assist us with this such as where was it purchased how did you acquire it.

It would be great if you could provide us with some of this information.

Please let me know.
Thanks, and have a nice day.

Debbie Nault
Customer service / Service à la clientèle

imagine my shock and frustration 

Nearly two years after they received all my jerseys in one package, with no effort to put the jersey into any auction, and zero communication with me, they now tell me they don’t have the LOA from then Chicago GM Bob Murray?

February 11

I replied to Debbie, politely expressing my frustration at this new development as follows:

Hi Debbie,

Thank you for the reply. And please call me Bob. 🙂

I sent in four jerseys (including Marsh Philadelphia Flyers, CuJo St. Louis Blues, and Scott Stevens NJ Devils) all together. Those three were sold, but this jersey has not been put up for auction yet.

The paperwork that I had with the Steve Smith jersey was included in the package I had sent. There was a letter directly from the Blackhawks, signed by Bob Pulford (then GM), detailing the sale and authenticity. I hope you guys still have that letter, as your answer is a little puzzling.

Thanks Debbie,

Bob

i referenced the wrong GM in Bob Pulford,

as it was Bob Murray whose name was on the paperwork from the Blackhawks. Given I had not seen the LOA in two years, I did make that error.

However, once again I received no reply.

april 1

I emailed Debbie again, wondering if they have found the LOA and when the jersey might be in an auction. No reply.

April 2

The next day I sent another email to both Debbie and Marc, telling them I feel I have been patient, and was frustrated at being ignored. Marc finally replied, asking me if the jersey had been lost. He obviously had not read my email to Debbie or asked her about the issue, as he didn’t know what the problem was.

I replied, and again explained the entire issue to him. He said he would look into it.

 june 2

Having not received a reply to my April 2nd, I emailed Marc again. He said he would look into it.

September 24

I sent another email to Marc, asking if there was any progress on this issue. No reply.

October 18

I wrote another email telling Marc that if I do not hear back, I “will be pursuing other actions”. He replied that day, saying “We have the jersey here, would you like to have the jersey returned to you? we would gladly just send it back.”

october 18

I replied

I assume you do not want to auction it now?

Does it still have the LOA from Chicago GM Bob Murray? That was the original issue as identified below.

If (you don’t), it is now worth less than it was when I sent it to you, and would be harder to move.

shockingly, again,

no reply

on november 4th, 2019 we had this exchange

I sent another email

OK last time. I have been patient enough.

Two questions:

  1. Did you lose the COA for the jersey?
  2. If you did, what are you going to offer to make this right? 

Regards…

Marc’s Reply

Its been long since we got the jersey but im being told that we do not have an LOA for this jersey and no one seems to have ever seen this LOA, not sure if we ever got it or what happened with it if we did but there are no LOAs at the moment.

Now he is accusing me of not sending the LOA in the original package. Hey, at least he is answering me at this time.

 

My reply

You definitely received it, as it was discussed in our original emails. Look at the bottom of this email and you will see the description of the jerseys.

So we both know the jersey is now worth less without the LOA, as you yourself have said Debbie said you had trouble verifying.

Given that, what type of restitution are you offering?

 

Marc’s Reply

What I see below is that your saying that you have the LOA and that you will be sending it but I dont a confirmation that we have ever received it.

at least i am getting a reply

However, let’s read that reply again:
“What I see below id that your saying that you have the LOA and that you will be sending it but I don’t a confirmation that we have ever received it.”

I am sure unaware where he got the idea I was sending him the LOA… which they already have.

In addition, if he doesn’t have a confirmation that Classic received it, how does his consignment intake process actually work? It obviously doesn’t.

My reply

No!!!! Both the LOA’s were sent when I shipped the 4 jerseys!!! The MeiGray one and the Blackhawks one.

marc’s reply

It was registered with Meigray ?

Unbelievable. I am trying to get this guy to understand the situation, and it’s like talking to a wall.

 my reply

Marc, please read the description below that I supplied you with when I first contacted you about selling the items.

You have obviously lost the letter from the Blackhawks, and now the jersey is worth much less than when I sent it to you. I am demanding restitution, and have contacted my lawyer. This reach out is my last attempt for you to make this right before I bring my lawyer in and start posting on hobby sites about my experience with Classic Auctions. Needless to say, this will be my last consignment with you, and I am no longer bidding in your auctions.

Here is what I sent you, as I will save you the effort of simply scrolling down to understand what the situation is.

I copied my original email into this note.

marc’s reply

Im trying to help here as well and looking for solutions, if you are going to threaten me, it’s not going to work, I will simply send you back the jersey and we will look for the LOA and send it back to you as soon as we can find it,

Let me know what address to send you back the jersey to, will be in the mail tomorrow. 

Not too sure how he’s actually trying to resolve it, except by hoping I take the jersey back and just disappear. Not going to happen. That’s why I have now spent the time and expense of creating this website.

my reply

Marc, appreciate I have been more than patient for over two years, and I feel I have been ignored through most of this. I am frustrated and done. You lost the COA, and now you ask me if I still have it? There is no reason for me to keep it when I sent you the jersey. You received the MeiGray letter for the Stevens jersey.

We both know the jersey is worth less without the Blackhawks COA that you have lost. I expect some kind of restitution for this carelessness.

We both know you cannot find the COA, and I have zero expectation that you will follow up shipping me the jersey with a LOA you’re going to find in the next couple of weeks. Do not send the jersey back without the COA.

Finally, these are not threats. I am simply telling you what my next steps are given my frustration at being ignored and treated poorly. I expect you, in good faith, will resolve this honestly and fairly.

Regards,

Marc’s reply

I do understand how you feel and i would feel the same way if something I sent got lost, im taking your word when you say that you sent the LOA, the problem is, everyone in the office tells me there was never an LOA with it and im not the one who opened the jersey,

I understand the problem with the LOA but more importantly, if the jersey is real, which it should be if it came from the team, is the jersey itself, the LOA is important but we can still sell the jersey with the LOA if its real,

Do you want me to make plans to have the jersey sold and we can try and find an happy solution after its sold ?

Let me know when you think, im all about finding solutions, I want to make sure you are happy at the end

on december 3, 2019, i sent this proposal

First, apologies on the late reply. I’ve been dealing with some personal family issues for the last few weeks.

Regarding the jersey… thanks for at least trying to make it better. While I understand the frustration from your groups point, my frustration comes from the following:

  • In our original correspondences, I clearly indicated two of the four jerseys had COA’s
    • Meigrey for the Scott Stevens jersey
    • Blackhawks COA for the Steve Smith jersey
  • When the jerseys arrived, if one of the COA’s was missing, someone should have informed me
    • Instead it was ignored for 2 ½ years
    • There is absolutely no incentive for me to not include the COA with the jersey
      • I would have wanted to get the maximum value
      • I would not send one COA and not another as I keep all of that information together.
    • Your reaction implied I am trying to pull a fast one
      • Not the way I am wired, and I get frustrated on the rare occasion that my integrity is questioned.
    • My multiple emails were not replied to by you or your team

 Thank you for at least listening to me. This is not a large dollar item, but that should not matter when it comes to a matter such as this.

Let me propose a couple of options. We both know the jersey is now worth less without the COA than when it had one.

  1. Buy the jersey from me for FMV of $800 USD
  2. Give me a credit in one of your future auctions of $1000 USD

The latter keeps me as a customer of yours, and it does not cost you the full amount. After 2 ½ years, my time and effort in this is indeed worth something.

I leave this with you to digest.

This is a copy of the Steve Smith LOA, which they claimed was “lost”

On January 27, 2020 I recieved the following, and final note, from Marc

In summary, Bob,

I have just returned to the office, I have been away for a while, I just got the jersey pulled to look into this some more and just solved the mistery, we have the LOA for your jersey, the problem is you have been telling Debbie all along that the LOA was from Bob Pulford and she has been looking for Pulford LOA and there Is none, the letter you sent us was signed by Robert Murray, we have add that letter all along but not the Pulford letter you have been asking Debbie for, I will transfer you the emails you have been exchanging with Debbie about the Pulford letter that never existed,
 
Anyways, we are sending you back the jersey with the Murray letter cause the jersey doesn’t have any use and the letter doesn’t state that its game worn neither, please confirm the address to send it back to,
 
Thanks,
 
Marc Juteau

so the LOA was in their possession all along, after Marc kept insisting they did not have it

This should not have been a “mistery” (mystery), except for their consignment inventory intake system which seems to have no controls or proper documentation.

With Marc saying “you have been telling Debbie all along that the LOA was from Bob Pulford and she has been looking for Pulford LOA”, this is an excuse aimed at me the consignor, covering for their incompetence.

“All along”? I sent them one email, with the wrong GM’s name, for the first time two years after first sending in the jerseys. He is telling me that my letter two years later was the reason why they could not find the LOA I sent in the original shipment of all four jerseys.

As for Marc writing “cause the jersey doesn’t have any use and the letter doesn’t state that its game worn neither”, it shows he is no expert in game worn jerseys. I’ve shown the COA to experienced Blackhawks jersey experts, who all agree the jersey is indeed game worn with that COA. It is the standard letter the Blackhawks provided when purchasing a game worn jersey during that time period. Hammered jerseys have exactly the same letter. Some rudimentary research shows he played only 11 road games during that injury riddled season, and had no goals or assists and 10 penalty minutes in those games. In the 1990’s, there was no difference made between Game Worn, Game Issued. etc.

Further, since I’ve launched this site, I am hearing from collectors who are questioning the “game worn” provenance of some jerseys they’ve purchased from Classic.

In the end, after continued insinuation that the entire episode is my fault as they supposedly never received the COA, there was no apology for my time nor an acknowledgement that they may have erred. Instead, they simply shipped the jersey back to me.

 

You be the judge of whether you want your prized possessions handled in this way, and choose to be treated this way. There are plenty of other auction houses with wider exposure that you can go with.

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Disclaimer

This is my personal experience with Classic Auctions in Delson, QC.