If you’ve been following our monthly auction house review (August edition here) then you’ve seen Wheatland Auction Services make a number of appearances.
But who is Wheatland? 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.
Wheatland Auction Services Inc. are located in Lancaster, PA. Founded in 2013, they offer both online and in-person auction experiences. The firm has fewer than 10 employees. In their own words, from their LinkedIn profile:
“Wheatland assists individuals and organizations on a daily basis in the areas of estate auctions, consignment of collections big and small, real estate auctions, sports memorabilia auctions as well as benefit auction services.”
Wheatland Auctions offers a wide variety of sports cards and memorabilia, but to me they just have the feel of a bit more of an “auction house for the masses”. Some auctions houses have auctions have lots that sell for 10’s or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Wheatland, while they have some really nice items, seems to have more items that range from less than a hundred to a few to a couple thousand dollars. Sure, there are a few items in the $10-25,000 range, but this auction is accessible to the average collector and auction newbie.
Wheatland has been running a Sports Card and Memorabilia auction roughly a seasonal basis of late, although they do occasionally have them more often and call them a monthly auction.
In order to cosign or bid on any Wheatland Auction, you must first register. Thankfully that process is very straightforward on their website.
The form asks for basic info….name, address, contact phone and email, then asks you to create a login and password. You must use a major credit card when registering to provide identity and to have a form of payment available for any auction wins. Note that you must be 18 years of age or older in order to register.
The entire process took me about two minutes, and I was off and browsing for items to bid on in no time. Note you can browse items without registering, however.
Wheatland Auctions online auctions are set up to “feel” like a live auction, with the first lot ending, then each subsequent lot ending 30 seconds after the prior lot. If a bid is placed in the final 10 minutes of the lot’s countdown, 10 minutes are added to the auction. No sniping here!
Generally speaking, auction items are sold as-is. The one exception are autographed items, which come with a 30-day period. If an authenticator such as PSA finds the autograph is not authentic, a refund will be provided. The full rules for bidding are found on Wheatland’s website.
We highly recommend you review them before bidding.
Unlike some auctions (or say, eBay), exact shipping costs aren’t known up front. Wheatland uses a combination of their internal shipping team and (for bulky/tricky items) a 3rd party shipper. Alternately, you can pick up any lots you want at Wheatland’s office in Lancaster, PA.
Winning Wheatland bidders pay an 18% buyer’s premium. That means if you win an auction for $100, you pay $118 plus shipping. PA residents add state sales tax.
The auction section of Wheatland’s website offers pretty standard auction-site functionality. You can sort items by a number of criteria such as Lot #, Price, # of bids, and most recent bids.
You can also filter by category, search by keyword, adjust the number of lots per page, and tab through pages of lots. Standard fare, but it tends to work fairly well. No need to reinvent the auction paradigm…go with what works.
The “detail and bid” page is fairly bare bones, with a few sentences about the lot and some photos.
The Wheatland Auctions Lancaster PA bidding process offers bidders a few options, some of which buyers will really welcome.
Bidders have the option to make a straight bid or a max bid. A straight bid simply bids the amount entered. A max bid basically makes the lowest possible winning bid, then ups the bid as needed to keep winning, up to the max bid. Anyone who has bid in an eBay auction is familiar.
Wheatland sends an email to confirm your high bid and if you are outbid. I found the email on outbid to be a very handy feature.
Earlier this summer, Wheatland Auctions ran its June 2022 Sports Card & Memorabilia Auction, which ended on June 5th at 10 PM ET. In the interest of making this review as complete as possible, I bid on a number of lots.
The June 2022 Sports Card & Memorabilia Auction had a wide variety of items. To illustrate this, the items I bid on ranged from signed baseballs to raw complete sets from the 80s, to a lot of graded cards from the 1990’s to 2010.
That last lot, #291 for Nine BGS 9.5 Gem Mint Rookies is the one that I won.
The final auction price was $75. The auction ended prompted at the appropriate time, with no snipe bids like on eBay. Approximately four hours later, I had an email letting me know which lot I had won. The very next day, I had an invoice with shipping and buyer’s premium included.
The total cost of the lot was $97.60. That breaks down to the $75 hammer price, plus $13.50 buyer’s premium (18%), and $9.10 for shipping and handling.
One dollar per card for shipping does not seem unreasonable, so I’m happy with the final cost. $10.84 each for Beckett Grading 9.5 rookie and pre-rookie cards seems like solid value.
I paid the invoice that evening (less than 24 hours after the completion of the auction), and received a tracking number within hours.
I paid the invoice late on a Monday night, and I had the cards in hand early Thursday afternoon. The cards arrived well packaged (in a cardboard box with shipping peanuts for padding). The cards were shipped via UPS so I received regular tracking update emails. They included a detailed printed invoice/packing slip with the order.
The cards look great and the secure, timely delivery really left me very pleased with the shipping and delivery experience.
Dedicated Cardline readers already know that buying in lots can prove profitable. While the value of the lot isn’t the focus of this article, how’d I do?
All cards are Beckett Grading Service (BGS) 9.5 Gem Mint, with the Tabata adding an autograph grade of 10.
|Lot||Comp or Estimate|
|2010 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor Stephen Strasburg||$30 (estimate)|
|2010 Bowman Chrome Stephen Strasburg (1 of 2)||$15 (comp)|
|2010 Bowman Chrome Stephen Strasburg (2 of 2)||$15 (comp)|
|1994 Classic Cream of the Crop Alex Rodriquez||$35 (comp)|
|2006 Just Autographs Preview Jose Tabata Auto /25ta Auto /25||$20 (estimate)|
|1999 Grandstand Barry Zito Minor League||$20 (estimate)|
|1996 Best Eric Gagne Minor League||$15 (sale)|
|1994 Best Vladimir Guerrero Minor League||$20 (estimate)|
|1994 Classic Derrek Lee||$20 (estimate)|
There are some fairly low-pop cards here, so a number of these prices are estimates/best guesses, but they feel accurate enough. Even if these estimates are a bit high, it’s clear I did well, value-wise with this lot. Some of these cards will be added to my collection, while a few others I will likely look to flip.
Overall, my Wheatland Auction experience was excellent. While their site isn’t the slickest, it works. The email updates were incredibly helpful. The invoicing, packaging, and delivery of the items was all top-notch.
If you haven’t bid with an auction house, but are looking to branch out, Wheatland is a great first foray into that world.
Check out our other reviews on notable auction house providers in the industry: