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Headlines and Highlights: Week of December 1st

Headlines and Highlights: Week of December 1st
December 1, 2023
Keenan Flack

COMC and eBay announce partnership and investment


eBay has announced a commercial agreement and investment in COMC, a sports trading card company, to accelerate the growth of the trading card hobby. This partnership underscores eBay's commitment to enhancing the experience for collectors and sellers in the Hobby. COMC, a technology-driven listing and management company, has nearly 300 employees and extensive distribution capabilities, managing a wide range of trading cards.

The investment from eBay aims to enable new services for its customers, making the listing process more efficient and user-friendly. Gene Cook, eBay's VP of Global Collectibles, highlighted the shared goal of both companies to innovate for collectors and sellers, aiming to streamline the collecting experience and help enthusiasts easily find desired cards.

COMC, co-founded in 2005 in Seattle by Tim and Julia Getsch, prides itself on using technology to simplify collecting, removing significant pain points for collectors. The company's core values include fostering an innovative and enjoyable team culture. The investment from eBay is seen as a testament to COMC's talented team and its commitment to enhancing the hobby of collecting, making it more accessible and enjoyable. EBAY

CGC announces 5 million cards graded


CGC Cards™, a division of Certified Collectibles Group (CCG), has announced hitting a milestone of grading over 5 million cards, encompassing trading card games (TCGs), sports cards, and non-sports cards. The goal was reached within just three years, amid the company's rapid growth and expansion into international markets, including Europe and China.

CEO Steven R. Eichenbaum expressed gratitude for the trust and support from collectors and dealers worldwide. The company has graded a diverse range of cards, including 2.98 million Pokémon cards. A notable highlight is the auction sale of a CGC-certified 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 card graded CGC 8, which fetched $1.25 million.

CGC Cards began its journey in July 2020 by grading Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering trading cards and has since expanded to include more TCGs and non-sports card sets. Matt Quinn, Vice President of CGC Cards, shared his favorite graded cards, including the unique Alpha Black Lotus graded CGC Pristine 10 and the iconic Base Set 1st Edition Charizard.  CGC

Collectible happenings

Nan Goldin has topped ArtReview's Power 100 list for 2023, marking the first time in the list's 22-year history that the top 10 is exclusively composed of artists. ARTNET

The legal battles between Panini and Fanatics over NFLPA-licensed trading card rights are impacting football card sales, with breakers and shop owners noting a decrease in demand. Autographed cards of top rookie quarterbacks like C.J. Stroud are scarce since they signed exclusives with Fanatics, affecting the market and prices. Despite some slowdown in sales, collectors remain interested in non-autographed cards, while local card shops anticipate a boost from the delayed NFL Player of the Day program. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDAILY

Sotheby's New York headquarters will lease five floors to Weill Cornell Medicine, as part of a strategic transformation in real estate by owner Patrick Drahi. This shift reflects a broader trend in the Upper East Side and is part of Drahi's broader asset reshuffling amidst financial and legal challenges, while Weill Cornell Medicine expands its research facilities in a major institutional change at 1334 York Avenue. ARTNET

Sarah Bonner unknowingly sold a rare lithograph by French painter Pierre Soulages for AUD$200 ($130) on Facebook Marketplace, only realizing its potential worth—estimated to be around $30,000—after the sale. The buyer, Leigh Capel, director of Belle Epoque Fine Art Gallery and an art valuer, has since declined to comment on the transaction. ARTNET

Art Basel is launching 'Access by Art Basel,' an online platform that requires collectors to pledge a donation to charity, starting at 10 percent of the artwork's sale price, alongside their purchase. This pilot project, developed by technology company Arcual, aims to integrate philanthropy with art market activities, debuting ahead of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair and featuring works from over a dozen participating galleries. ARTNET

The 1916 Company was launched by merging WatchBox, Govberg, Radcliffe, and Hyde Park Jewelers, creating a leading global destination for fine watches and jewelry. This new brand aims to integrate the primary and secondary markets, offering collectors a comprehensive experience with more than 20 boutiques and Collector's Lounges worldwide, along with a digital platform and personalized customer services. THEWATCHBOX

Top athletes, including NBA star Carmelo Anthony, are increasingly becoming significant players in the art market, particularly driving interest in contemporary art and artists of color. Their influence as collectors is growing, with galleries, auction houses, and art shows actively courting these sports figures, who are using their platforms to promote and invest in art as both a passion and an asset. NYTIMES

The set of six Messi shirts worn during his successful World Cup run last year are up for sale at Sotheby’s. Bidding currently stands at $5.2 million. SOTHEBYS

Amazon is introducing a virtual queue system for the release of the "Disney Lorcana TCG Rise of the Floodborn" set, starting at 9 am PST on December 1, 2023, which includes a lottery system for purchase invitations and a 72-hour window to confirm product selections. The queue is exclusive to U.S. customers and the available products for pre-order include two types of "Rise of the Floodborn" Starter Decks and Booster Display Boxes, with a purchase limit of two per product. TWITTER

Jeff Bezos has been rumored to be the buyer of ‘Femme à la Montre’ the Picasso canvas that sold for $139.4 million at Sotheby’s in the Fisher Landau sale. TWITTER

Check out our recently released “The Art Market Auction & Asset Class Report: Fall 2023”, where we dive into the numbers of this past month’s art auction sales in New York. ALTANINSIGHTS

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