CHIEF AUCTIONEER JOINED AUCTION HOUSE SHORTLY AFTER COMPANY FOUNDED
After more than 40 years as Auction Director, and later Chief Auctioneer of the world’s largest numismatic auctioneer, the masterful Bob Merrill is retiring.
Merrill joined Steve Ivy Numismatic Auctions shortly after the company was established in 1976; the firm became Heritage Numismatic Auctions in 1982. “His experience as a history teacher and part-time coin dealer, not to mention his work ethic and exuberance, made Bob the perfect candidate for the position of Heritage’s first director,” says Steve Ivy, co-founder and CEO of Heritage Auctions.
Since those early years, Heritage has become the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer, as well as the largest auction house founded in the United States. As lead auctioneer, Merrill has wielded the hammer for some of Heritage’s most important sales, including the finest-certified 1787 Brasher, Punch on Wing doubloon ($4.58 million), the Walton Nickel Specimen of the 1913 Liberty Nickel ($3.17 million), coins from the legendary Eric P. Newman collection, plus literally billions of dollars in rare coins and currency.
“Without Bob Merrill,” says Heritage Auctions Co-Founder Jim Halperin, “Heritage Auctions would never have existed.”
Chief Numismatics Cataloger Mark Van Winkle recalls how Merrill stood out from other auctioneers. “He called auctions with depth and knowledge of history and coins. He could add color commentary to any auction. He really did his homework. And he has a great sense of humor. He’s a fun person to be around. Everyone who remembers those late-into-the-evening auctions when Bob started handing out candy to keep things lively will miss him.”
Sports Veteran Joins Heritage
Dan Imler, a veteran of the sports auction business, has joined Heritage Auctions as vice president of private sales and consignments. He will work out of the firm’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices.
“Dan is one of the most respected and knowledgeable figures in sports collecting,” says Chris Ivy, director of Heritage Sports. “He will bring strong leadership to our West Coast operations.”
Before joining Heritage, Imler served as vice president of one of the hobby’s leading auctioneers. He has made dozens of media appearances as a hobby expert for outlets including CNN, ESPN, The New York Times and Forbes magazine. “I am thrilled to join the hobby’s leading auction house,” Imler says. “This is an incredible opportunity to work with the best team in the business.”
Springfield Auctions Guitars for Charity
Grammy-award winning singer, songwriter, actor and best-selling author Rick Springfield opened his personal collection of rare guitars for a charity auction that benefited habitat destruction caused by Australian wildfires.
Springfield partnered with Heritage Auctions to hold the “Rick Springfield Collection Benefiting Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors of Australia” on March 6. The auction featured stage- and studio-played guitars from the star, whose career includes 17 Top 40 hits, such as the No. 1 smash “Jessie’s Girl.”
“Animals will always be my charity of choice and these brutal fires have destroyed native Aussie species as well as their habitat,” said the Australian native.
Handbags for Charity
Diane D’Amato and Kathleen Guzman of Heritage Auctions joined Michael Tonello, author of Bringing Home the Birkin, for an auction benefiting the Center for Family Services of Palm Beach (Fla.) County at Breakers Palm Beach Resort.
This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.