If you’ve been following our monthly auction house reviews then you know auction houses are a great option to add to your card acquiring list, right next to eBay, Facebook Marketplace, shows, local card shops, retail outlets, and wherever else you get cards.
But who is Grey Flannel Auctions? What do their auctions look like and how do you bid? What are the rules of the road? We’ll explore these questions and more in this review.
Grey Flannel Auctions (GFA) was founded in 1989 by long-time hobby regular Richard Russek. Now managed by Richard’s son, Michael Russek, the company offers authentication, auctions, and also has an eBay presence.
Grey Flannel Auctions is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. They also have a presence in New York State. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and eBay. The company claims to have over 30,000 registered and pre-qualified bidders and to have sold over $75 million dollars worth of merchandise across their fifty-two elite catalog auctions.
From Grey Flannel’s website, they have a wide range of offerings, but their specialties include:
Grey Flannel Auctions has set a number of records, including the highest prices ever paid for a game-used basketball jersey ($273k), football jersey ($115k), Babe Ruth’s “Called-Shot” uniform ($1.1m), and MJs “Flu Game” sneakers ($104k).
A number of well-known former players have consigned their items with Grey Flannel Auctions. These include basketball Hall of Famers Pete Maravich, Robert Parrish, and Jerry Lucas, baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.
The crew from Grey Flannel Auctions also starred in the 2012 Discovery Channel HD series “All Star Dealers”.
Grey Flannel Auctions run several auctions per year, with their most recent auction, the 2022 Summer Games Auction ending on June 5th. They had three auctions in 2021: The December Holliday Auction, June Summer Games Auction, and January Winter Catalog Auction.
To give an idea of the wide range of items available in a Grey Flannel auction, items from the 2022 Summer Games Auction ranged in price from a low of $60 (plus fees) to $183,485 (plus fees). That highest price item was a 1917 Eddie Cicotte Chicago White Sox Game-Used Flannel Jersey. For the record, this particular jersey was white with black pinstriped flannel, not grey flannel.
In order to register to bid with Grey Flannel Auctions, you must have two hobby references, which means that you have bid with at least two other auction houses. This is something a few other auction houses require, such as Sirius.
Honestly, I don’t love this requirement as it makes it somewhat difficult to break into the world of auction house bidding. Some companies, such as Wheatland, do not have these requirements.
The registration process collects standard name, address, and contact info, along with info about your email preferences, how you heard of Grey Flannel, and the auction house references mentioned above. You must also agree to the auction terms and conditions.
Approval takes 24-48 hours and approved bidders will be notified via email.
If desired, you can also work with Grey Flannel’s credit department to get “Premiere Bidder” status. Advantages of Premier Bidder status include:
Grey Flannel Auctions has its full terms and auction rules posted to its website.
One thing to be aware of is the auction’s end. Auctions end at 7 PM PST (10 PM ET) and if the auction has only one bidder, the auction closes and that bidder is declared the winner. If multiple bidders bid on an item, “extended bidding”, in 30-minute increments kicks off and continues until there are no bids in a 30-minute period. This allows items to sell for the maximum price without any snipe bidding.
Bid increments are a minimum of 10% of the current item cost, in full dollar increments only. Some auctions have minimum opening bids and/or reserve prices. In the 2022 Summer Games Auction, the lowest minimum bid was $50, so this isn’t an auction full of low-cost items.
Cashier’s check, money order, or bank transfers are the preferred method of payment. Personal and business checks are held a minimum of 10 business days to clear. Grey Flannel Auctions does not accept either credit cards or Paypal.
Grey Flannel Auctions has a 20% buyer’s premium, which is more or less standard in the industry. That means if you win an auction for $100, your final cost would be $120 plus shipping, handling, and potentially sales tax.
Speaking of sales tax, residents of Arizona and New York will be charged the appropriate sales tax for their state and county.
Shipping charges are not known during the bidding process but are part of the final invoice. Grey Flannel ships via FedEx or USPS. It is important that you be aware of any tax implications, buyer’s fees, and shipping charges when considering a bid as they all are components of the final cost paid.
Grey Flannel refers to its website as “state of the art” and highlights things like the responsive nature of the site (to provide a better mobile experience) and data synch.
While there was not an active auction when this review was being written, so all the claims about the “state of the art” nature of the site can’t be validated, I will say the site does feel “slicker” than many auction house sites.
Part of this is the site design…it both looks and works very smoothly. The design really feels clean and solid, and the item photos are top-notch.
The site search and ability to sort are all solid although feel fairly standard compared to other auction sites. I will say the item descriptions do seem to be well-written and informative, and for some of the higher profile items, quite prolific.
Grey Flannel also offers professional quality full-color print catalogs. While some may consider a print catalog an unnecessary relic of the past, they do drive interest in lots and bids.
If you are looking to expand your bidding to additional auction houses, Grey Flannel offers exciting items, regular auctions, and a well-designed web and catalog experience.
Check out our other reviews on notable auction house providers in the industry:
Yes! They have been in business since 1989 and are now run by the second generation of the family. They have a stellar reputation in the industry. They even had their own TV show, “All Star Dealers” back in 2012.
You can reach Grey Flannel Auctions by phone at 631-288-7800 or via email at [email protected].
Grey Flannel Auction rules are available at their website here.
To find out more about upcoming auctions with Grey Flannel Auctions, follow them on Facebook.
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