Premier Auction Organization hosts sports, charity auctions

A Scottsdale, Ariz., company has found its niche among auctions, specializing in charity work for organizations, as well as auctioning sports, entertainment, autograph and presidential memorabilia.

ali_torch11 QU 2-1.jpgWalter Cerini, owner of Premier Auction Organization, said his company is committed to providing its clients with “unsurpassed service and support” throughout the auction process.

An autographed photo of Muhammad Ali holding the Olympic torch.

Premier Online Sports Auctions has been located in Scottsdale for more than a dozen years and runs auctions every other month. The auction deals mostly with vintage pieces of sports, presidential and entertainment memorabilia, generally older than 1979.

“Typically, the older (the piece) the more expensive,” Cerini said, “but it also depends on the person, genre and circumstances.”

As for items that generate the most money at auction, Cerini noted that anything with an autograph on it generally sells well.

mantle_gallo_signed_photo QU 2-1.jpg“If it has an authentic autograph, it will have value,” he said. “Over the past decade, we have carved out a niche of team-signed baseballs, single-signed baseballs, and autographed photos, pieces of paper and letters.”

A rare signed photo of Mickey Mantle.

Cerini pointed out that there are many new collectors and dealers getting intournaments, school and church events, charity galas and balls, and other fund-raising events.

to the collectibles business, which helps generate interest on items at auction. But ultimately, he added, “Excellent pieces will get phenomenal bids, great pieces get excellent bids and most good pieces will get great bids.”

The other auction his company operates is the Premier Charity Auction, where his firm provides authentic sports and entertainment memorabilia, and presidential and historical items for silent auctions at charity benefits, golfSome charities that Premier Auction Organization works with have an existing silent or live auction in place, but need to supplement their merchandise selection. For those groups, his company provides additional memorabilia to auction. In other cases, Premier provides all the material to be sold.

matt_leinart QU 2-1.jpgWhen Premier contracts to do a charity auction, Cerini’s staff sets up at the charity event location. The minimum number of pieces to be sold at a charity auction is 20.

A signed action photo of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart.

Five people are on staff at Premier Charity Auctions and at least two of them will be at a charity event to help register bidders, answer questions and close out the auction by receiving payments and wrapping up the high bidder pieces. Because of Premier’s high volume, they sometimes must attend two or more events at the same time.

Cerini has been involved in the memorabilia business since 1992 and has worked with Premier Auction Organization for 15 years. He subsequently bought the auction company from its initial owner.

Examples of memorabilia that have proven popular at charity auctions include autographed golf items, specifically those signed by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson; and pieces signed by other sports stars such as Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Matt Leinart. For the higher-end pieces, Cerini noted that vintage autographs of Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, US presidents and Hollywood stars are always in demand.