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Press Release - August 25, 2021

Heritage Auctions Comments on State of Video-Game Marketplace

DALLAS, Texas (Aug. 25, 2021) — Heritage Auctions has seen the recent speculation about alleged market manipulation in the collector video-game marketplace. The company and its founders want to ensure all those who love the hobby as much as we do that Heritage has always acted with the utmost integrity and has never falsely inflated the collector video-game marketplace or any other.

Heritage has worked tirelessly for more than four decades to ensure the best possible experience for our consignors and clients. Transparency and integrity are the cornerstones of our business, and since our founding in 1976, we have earned a reputation as trusted stewards of the collectibles hobby.

Our co-founder Jim Halperin, a well-known collector across several categories, was an early believer in the collectible video-game marketplace, and has been an active participant in that arena for several years. Indeed, Jim's participation — including his purchase of the first six-figure video game — was not only disclosed, but was widely publicized by Heritage Auctions.

While Heritage has a strong relationship with Wata, as well as other third-party grading companies and authenticators, Wata's grading and activities are wholly independent from Heritage or its management. Jim was indeed an early minority stakeholder in Wata, through his nonprofit foundation that provides funding for arts-, education- and health-related endeavors. "I had no idea video games would take off as fast as they did," he says of his early involvement, "but I suspected that marketplace was undervalued."

Jim divested himself of his ownership in Wata earlier this year when that company was sold. The notion that Heritage somehow colluded in order to achieve results at auction is baseless and falsely assumes that transactions are fictitious when they are in fact very much real.

Heritage prides itself on transparency, which is why we post every result from every auction and maintain that information in our permanent archive, which is accessible by anyone who is interested in that information, including Heritage's 1.5 million registered bidders worldwide. Heritage and Jim wholeheartedly agree that as the video-game marketplace continues to evolve and mature that population reports are an essential component needed to maintain its transparency.

Yes, Heritage employees do consign and bid on items for their personal collections, as disclosed in our terms and conditions. Jim is well known as one of the world's greatest collectors of EC comics, original comic-book art and Mad memorabilia. But as we always say, an item is only worth what two bidders are willing to pay for it, and Heritage strives to make the playing field level for all.

As to the question of regulatory fines, in 1989 Jim and co-founder Steve Ivy reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission arising from allegations related to grading and the marketing of coins by an unrelated third party. Heritage Auctions settled for $1.2 million to avoid protracted litigation and admitted no wrongdoing. As Halperin himself said in 2004 on the company's website, "I'm glad the FTC came in, cracked down on some of the practices in the industry and weeded out some of the bad apples, allowing us to alter our business model profitably, and serve a much larger and faster growing clientele." This settlement had nothing to do Heritage Auctions.

We founded Heritage Auctions 45 years ago as an auction house by collectors for collectors.

Robert Wilonsky, Communications Director

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