In a landscape-changing move, Joseph Maddalena, founder of Profiles in History, the world's largest auctioneer of Hollywood memorabilia, has been named Executive Vice President of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, the third largest auction house in the world, creating a powerhouse team.
“This is one of the most significant moves Heritage has made in the last 40 years," Steve Ivy, Heritage Auctions’ Co-Chairman and CEO, said. “We’re incredibly excited Joe is joining Heritage. Joe will be based at Heritage world headquarters in Dallas, but will maintain an active presence in California. We have known and admired him for more than 30 years and have the utmost respect for his expertise and the business he has built.”
Maddalena, who founded Profiles in History in 1985, will join Heritage February 1. Maddalena, CEO and president of Profiles in History, previously announced the move to Heritage in a letter to employees, as reported earlier by Antique Trader.
The addition of Maddalena to Heritage is significant. Since its inception, Profiles in History has evolved into the largest player by far in authenticated Hollywood memorabilia auctions. Highlights over the years have been impressive, including the Marilyn Monroe “Subway” Dress from The Seven Year Itch selling for $5.52 million and the Audrey Hepburn Ascot Dress from My Fair Lady for $4.44 million.
The auction house also handled the “Cowardly Lion” costume from The Wizard of Oz ($805,000); a full-scale model T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($488,750); Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds” dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ($356,500); Luke Skywalker’s light saber from Star Wars ($240,000); and Margaret Hamilton’s “Wicked Witch” hat from The Wizard Of Oz ($230,000).
Heritage offers a strong Entertainment category – most notably movie posters– and has experience handling Hollywood "A" list material, including a private collection of Sylvester Stallone featuring props from Stallone's Rocky and Rambo movies, among others. But the addition of Maddalena and his team should have a staggering influence on the quality and quantity of their entertainment offerings.
For his part, Maddalena said joining Heritage has "re-inspired" him. He called Heritage's Ivy and co-chairman Jim Halperin "good friends" and "visionaries who understand the importance of popular culture collectibles better than almost anyone in today’s marketplace."
“Heritage is at the cutting edge of collecting, bringing in video games and Pokémon, for instance, which I have been championing for years,” Maddalena said. “This is such my passion, and that’s the biggest thing for me. This is giving me the opportunity do what I’ve done for 35 years at a juggernaut like Heritage.”
More than anything, Maddalena said, he is eager to get out from behind the desk and again work with clients full-time – to get out “on the front lines.”
In his letter to employees, Maddalena called the move "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" not only for himself but for his employees. While it is likely the Profiles in History name will go away, the operations will remain in Calabasas, California. Employees will be offered jobs with Heritage, Maddalena said in his letter.
Halperin said Maddalena brings “deep and long-lasting relationships with major collectors in myriad fields,” as well as encyclopedic knowledge of multiple categories that transcend Hollywood and entertainment memorabilia.
“But more than anything, he brings with him an infectious enthusiasm, and he’s quite simply a warm, empathetic, and genuinely nice person,” Halperin said.
In his letter to employees, Maddalena said the move to Heritage "will allow me to serve all of our clients far more efficiently and effectively than ever before. It will also allow Heritage to expand several of its already thriving categories, including historical manuscripts, fine art, comic books and comic art, movie posters and, of course, Hollywood and music memorabilia."
Maddalena is a lifelong collector, having been born in Rhode Island into a family of antique dealers. He has earned a reputation as a leading authority on entertainment memorabilia and historical documents. He paid $749,000 for a January 8, 1863 handwritten letter of Abraham Lincoln regarding the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1997, Maddalena was instrumental in exposing the notorious Lex Cusak forgery scandal involving John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe faked letters and was the industry expert interviewed by Peter Jennings about the hoax on 20/20. He also worked in 2009 with the Library of Congress to stage “With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Exhibition” attended by President Barrack Obama.
Maddalena also headed three seasons as the star of the Syfy Channel’s hit TV series, Hollywood Treasure, which is available on demand and has been seen by more than 2.5 million viewers.
"Everything I’ve done in my life, from collecting baseball cards as a young boy to producing TV shows to building Profiles in History into the world’s largest dealer of Hollywood memorabilia, has been infused with deep felt enthusiasm, excitement and passion," Maddalena said in his letter. "My move to Heritage Auctions is no different. The time is right, because the people, the place, and the vision are right. I am eager for all of us to continue this journey together for a long, long time."