Auctions

Rasdale ends printed catalogs as its auction options expand

Feb 1, 2019, 9 AM
Rasdale’s 439th public auction is slated for Feb. 16-17. The first session is filled with United States and worldwide collections, accumulations and stocks, while the second day offers singles, sets and covers from the United States and all around the world.

By Michael Baadke

After more than 86 years, the public auctions at Chicago-area Rasdale Stamp Co. are still going full steam ahead, but there is something different about them.

“We are not printing auction catalogs anymore,” Kim Kellermann told Linn’s Stamp News in a recent interview.

Kellermann and his brother Kevin now run the stamp and auction firm that was established by their grandfather, Joseph Rasdale, in 1932. The firm is described as the oldest family owned and operated stamp auction house in the United States.

Kellermann has been on the lookout for innovations that will strengthen the business while also serving its customer base.

One reason for eliminating printed catalogs is that only a small fraction of the firm’s mailing list was being contacted through the mail. The vast majority, well over 90 percent, connect with the business by email.

Kellermann said with online bidding plus a live auction feature added two years ago, the business has changed in ways that give more options to the customer.

Even local bidders are taking advantage of the online options, Kellermann said. They no longer need to stay the full day at the auction house to bid on just a couple of items.

After registering (at least 72 hours before the auction begins) interested buyers can view the auction live and bid live during the sale from the comfort of their own homes. All online bids are anonymous.

Customers who don’t want to attend the public auction or bid during the live auction can still submit bids online with pre-auction bidding that closes down the day before.

Eliminating the lengthy process to prepare and print catalogs frees up important staff and company resources, Kellermann said. Regular customers are mailed a reminder that the catalog can be viewed online, and the prevalence of smartphones and tablets means that accessing the catalog requires nothing more than an internet connection.

The firm’s 439th public auction is slated for Feb. 16-17. The first session is filled with United States and worldwide collections, accumulations and stocks, while the second day offers singles, sets and covers from the United States and all around the world.

The public auction will take place as usual at Rasdale Auction Gallery, 37 Chestnut Ave., Westmont, IL 60559. Additional information is available online at www.rasdalestamps.com.

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