A Response To Amoskeag Auction Company

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By Joel Kolander


Greetings to one and all,

My name is Joel Kolander and here at Rock Island Auction Company I head up a lot of our online marketing. A step removed from our traditional print and magazine ads, I oversee our blogs, social media, videos, emails, and online partnerships. In other words, things that in the past might be considered atypical marketing.  One thing I’ve never needed to do in an “atypical marketing” campaign, was to sneak around or distort facts, however, that is exactly what one of our competitors is claiming we’ve done in their recent newsletter.

Long story short, a letter unflattering to one of our competitors was printed in the March 2019 issue of Guns & Ammo magazine. While not naming our competitor directly, it left no mystery as to who it was. The letter claimed they received a poor sale price of $700 on their Luger through said auction company, then discovered it later on Gunbroker for 10-times the price.

engraved commercial Luger, silver grips

This is the Luger referenced in the letter to Guns & Ammo Magazine.

Now we can certainly sympathize with our competitor that not every gun reaches its estimate. It’s a scenario that any good auction house seeks to avoid, however, in this case the letter appears to be mostly bupkis.

  • Our competitor claims to have no client by that name.
  • Our competitor claims to have no inventory record of that pistol
  • Our competitor claims they are unable to find a listing of that pistol anywhere on Gunbroker.

Frankly, I have little reason to doubt them, but that is where my sympathy for their plight ends. At that point in their letter they “jump the shark” so to speak, and begin a wild ride of assumptions, accusations, and outright lies that ends with them accusing Rock Island Auction Company of composing said letter.

Friends, nothing could be further from the truth.

They came to this conclusion based primarily on the photo allegedly submitted with the letter, which is certainly a Rock Island Auction Company photo. It was from an auction we held in 2010, when we sold the gun in question for $2,185 (that’s a hammer price of $1,900 plus a 15% buyer’s premium). It is a photo that has been online for, literally, the last 9 years.

In fact, it is a pistol we’re quite familiar with, as it is coming up again for sale in our June Regional Auction.

That said, making the bold and maliciously false accusation that Rock Island Auction Company is responsible for a letter written by a fake author with fake sales information, nearly requires a tinfoil hat to find it even remotely plausible.

  1. This competitor is not anything even close to what RIAC considers a threat in the business world. It is not worth our time nor energy to launch even a legitimate campaign against them, let alone such unethical guerilla marketing tactics.
  2. This is an image that has been hosted on our website for roughly 9 years. We receive millions of visitors to our website for any given auction. Any number of users have had access to this image for nearly a decade. Using our image does not make the letter ours.
  3. While every auction house has its customer service issues, perhaps if our competitor took better care of their clients, they would not feel compelled to write clearly false letters to national newsstand periodicals.

My favorite part of our competitor’s newsletter is the following quote,

“Which company, we then thought, would employ such an unethical and dirty tactic to hurt a competitor?

Yes, who indeed, when enraged by a wild accusation, would fly off the handle to smear and falsely accuse a competitor? It appears the proof is in the paranoid pudding. We sympathize with receiving vindictive negative publicity that is provably false, but the letter is not ours.

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