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Hailey is an auctioneer in Vermont who sells primarily sports memorabilia. Her auctions include basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and a myriad of other sports with cards, sets, boxes, signed balls, bats, hats, clothing, etc.

Henry is a seller who brings in a baseball glove with a somewhat obscured signature. Hailey is unsure whose signature it is and tells Henry she will work to authenticate. Henry is good with that and leaves the glove in Hailey’s care.

Here’s where our story takes a turn. Hailey finds a renowned sports signature authenticator in Utah and sends Henry’s glove UPS to him to help with the identification. Several days pass when the Utah sports authenticator notifies Hailey he has the glove in his possession.

However, Henry happens to call Hailey the next day to inquire about the glove and any follow-up information. Hailey informs Henry she has sent his glove to Utah for research and authentication. “Utah? My glove?” Henry asks somewhat concerned. “My glove is in Utah?”

At this point, we ask some questions …

  1. What if the glove hadn’t made it to Utah?
  2. What if the glove made it to Utah, but never came back?
  3. What if the glove made it to Utah, and a different glove was returned?
  4. What if the glove was damaged in route to Utah or back to Vermont?
  5. What if the glove never made it to Utah?

If insurance is an issue, who’s insurance would cover loss or damage? Henry’s? Hailey’s? UPS? Who would determine the value of the loss? Henry? Hailey? The Utah authenticator? Someone else? What if Henry is not satisfied with the monetary replacement for his missing glove?

Maybe Hailey’s contract with Henry would detail that while the glove is in her possession, she might send it across the country for help with research, and … but it doesn’t. In fact, her contract doesn’t say anything about this because “the seller should be grateful that the auctioneer cares enough about the consignment to go the extra mile …”

Of course, I’m joking here. This should absolutely be covered in her contract with Henry. It would seem to us that any auctioneer with actual possession of a consignor’s property should maintain that actual possession until at least sold unless expressly noted in the contract with provisions concerning any change in location.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.