Entrepreneur Success: Interview with Fortuna Auction’s John Saxon

Fortuna Auction’s President John Saxon was interviewed on IdeaMensch, a site featuring entrepreneurs. Here’s his Q&A:

John is responsible for providing executive leadership, strategic vision, and high-level oversight of global operations and business development for the auction house. John has more than 15 years of experience in business development and growth strategy and holds a Master’s Degree in engineering.

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Antique Trader: Finding favor in the fine jewelry market

By Antoinette (Toni) Rahn, Antique Trader

It’s a match made of gems and jewels for husband and wife business partners Seth Holehouse and Anna Lin, and John and Maria Saxon, owners of Fortuna.

The foursome work side-by-side to bring fine jewelry, from all corners of the world, to auction. Recently, Antique Trader caught up with Seth and John ahead of the company’s Spring Jewels Auction, slated for April 6. The two provide insight about their business operation, today’s secondary jewelry market, and three of the company’s principle strategies to good business.

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Antique Trader: Finding favor in the fine jewelry market

By Antoinette (Toni) Rahn, Antique Trader

It’s a match made of gems and jewels for husband and wife business partners Seth Holehouse and Anna Lin, and John and Maria Saxon, owners of Fortuna.

The foursome work side-by-side to bring fine jewelry, from all corners of the world, to auction. Recently, Antique Trader caught up with Seth and John ahead of the company’s Spring Jewels Auction, slated for April 6. The two provide insight about their business operation, today’s secondary jewelry market, and three of the company’s principle strategies to good business.

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Business Success Stories: Interview with Fortuna Auction’s Seth Holehouse

Fortuna Auction’s CEO Seth Holehouse was interviewed on Delpino.net, a site featuring web-based entrepreneurs. Here’s his Q&A:

What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

Fortuna is an auction house that specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. We began in 2011 and are based in New York City. In the world of auctions, we are fairly young—and that’s a good thing. Having a narrow focus on jewelry gives us an edge over traditional houses, especially in the internet age where the buying landscape is so fragmented. Our auctions are hosted 4-6 times a year. We have bidders live in the sale room, over the phones, and through online platforms from all over the world.

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Terms & Conditions for Buying at Fortuna Auction

By bidding with Fortuna Auction, you are agreeing to the following terms and conditions:

Buyer Premiums

Hammer totals $200,000 and under are subject to 25% buyer premium over hammer price.

Hammer totals of $200,001 to $3,000,000 are subject to 20% buyer premium over hammer price.

Hammer totals of over $3,000,000 are subject to 12% buyer premium over hammer price.

Conditions of Sale for Fortuna Auction

These are the conditions of sale for bidding and buying from Fortuna. These conditions and the contents listed are subject to change by posting of notices online before and up to the sale. We will offer properties in lots. A lot may consist of a single item or a group of items as we may determine. By bidding at any of our auctions, you agree to be bound by the following conditions of sale:

1. Property sold “As Is” 

All property is sold “As Is” and without any express or implied representation or warranty by us. The absence of reference to the condition of property does not imply perfect or imperfect condition. All weights and measurements are approximate. All statements contained in the catalog or in any bill of sale, condition report, invoice, or elsewhere are qualified statements of opinion and not representations or warranties. Fortuna Auction does not guarantee the working condition of any watches sold. All watches and timepieces are sold without warranty.

2. Property Available for Inspection

It is your responsibility to inspect or request additional photographs or condition reports before bidding to determine your level of interest. We encourage inspection to determine property’s condition.

3. Property Withdrawal

We reserve the right to withdraw any property before sale and cannot be held liable for any such action.

4. Right to Reject Bids

We reserve the right to reject any bid. If the auctioneer decides an opening bid is below the value of the lot offered, the auctioneer may reject that bid and withdraw the lot from sale.

5. Lots With Reserves

We may offer lots subject to a “reserve,” which is a confidential minimum price below which a lot will not be sold.

6. Copyrighted Material

The copyright in the text of the catalog, photographs, digital images and illustrations belong to Fortuna or its licensors. You will not reproduce or permit anyone else to reproduce such text, photographs, digital images, or illustrations without Fortuna’s express written consent.

7. Bidding Procedure

The auctioneer may advance bidding in any manner. He may decide, or withdraw or divide any lot or combine two or more lots. In event of a bidding dispute, the auctioneer has final discretion to determine the successful bidder, cancel sale, or resell or reoffer the disputed lot. Consignors are not allowed to bid on their own items.

8. Absentee and Phone Bidding Not Guaranteed

We may permit and execute absentee bidding including written bids, telephone bidding and internet bidding as a convenience to you if you are unable to attend the auction. We are not responsible for any errors related to this type of bidding. You further agree to hold us harmless should we fail to execute.

9. Online Bidding

Fortuna may offer clients the opportunity to bid onlinne via BidSquare, LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, or any other online platforms for selected sales, By participating in a sale via any of these online platforms, you acknowledge that you are bound by these Terms and Conditions as well as the terms stipulated by the online platform(s). An additional fee of 3% applies on lots won online.

10. Title to the Property

Title passes of the fall of the auctioneers hammer to the highest acknowledged bidder subject to these conditions of sale. The successful bidder will immediately pay us the full purchase price.

11. Buyer’s Premium and Tax

The total purchase price to be paid for each lot of property by you is the amount of the successful bid price plus premium. Unless exempt by law, all purchases (including buyer’s premium) are subject to local sales tax.

12. Payments

You will pay the total purchase price for lots won by cash, check, money transfer, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express). We reserve the right to hold the merchandise until cleared or certified funds are received. The buyer will be charged $25 for each check returned for insufficient funds.

13. Property Removal

You must pay for and remove all purchased lots, at your expense. Clients are responsible for shipping costs or cost affiliated with receiving property. If client does not remove purchased property within 20 days of sale, we may consider that property abandoned and rescind the sale on behalf of property owner.

14. Purchaser in Default

If any of the above conditions of sale is not complied with, you will be in default, and you agree that we have the right to pursue any remedies against you, including but not limited to:

a) Holding you liable for total purchase price including buyer’s premium

b) Cancelling the sale of that or any other lots sold to you and reselling property in any manner we determine without reserve.

c) Rejecting any further bids by you or requiring you to place a deposit with us before accepting your bids; or

d) Effecting a combination of any of the aforementioned as well as any other legal or equitable remedies we may have against you.

15. Limitation of Liability

In no event will our liability to you exceed the purchase price actually paid. If any part of these Terms and Conditions is for any reason involid or unenforceable, the rest shall remain valid and enforceable.

Fortuna Auction’s Spring Jewels Sale Excites at Waldorf Astoria

The May 17 Spring Jewels auction marked an important milestone for Fortuna Auction, one of the world’s few boutique jewelry auctions, and the only one headquartered in New York City.

Past auctions were always held in our showroom on 5th Avenue. It was a big step for us to hold our preview and sale in such a prestigious hotel, and we were overwhelmed (emotionally and logistically) with the turnout.

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Maine Antique Digest—A Small Town Approach in the Big City

By Mary Ann Brown

Maine Antique Digest

Fortuna Auctioneers and Appraisers, owned and operated by partners in business and marriage Seth Holehouse and Anna Lin, GG, is a relative newcomer to the jewelry auction scene in New York City. The company held its fine jewelry sale on January 19.

Lin and Holehouse started the venture about four years ago, and the auction house complements a separate business they created seven or eight years ago. Anna Lin Antique and Diamond Jewelry (www.annalin.net) “is mostly focused on searching for and finding investment quality gemstones and old jewelry for people in Asia,” according to Holehouse. They travel to Asia “a few times a year, finding buyers for important Art Deco, Cartier, Kashmir sapphires, and such.”

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THE RIDE: Competing With the Big Guys

By Mildred L. Culp

Knoxville News Sentinel

Rarely does a founding entrepreneur launch in a big way or a start-up become large overnight. Size, or lack of it, spells “obstacle” for many entrepreneurs.

Seth Holehouse, managing director (now CEO) of Fortuna Auction in New York, N.Y., works less than two blocks from Christie’s, the largest jewelry auction in the world (www.fortunaauction.com). “Our main … obstacle is gaining a name and building it with wholesalers and store owners,” he says. Interacting face-to-face with domestic and international buyers is essential for a fine jewelry auction to build trust. He does a lot of it, shaking hands and meeting gazes.

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Financial Times—Alternative auctions: Boutiques find niche in an underserved marketplace

By Syl Tang

Financial Times

For decades, the only reputable option for watch and jewellery aficionados looking for something vintage or collectable were the big name auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, where buyers were assured of authenticity and quality.

But, with global marketing of large auctions leading to record-setting hammer prices, deals have become increasingly difficult for collectors to find, never mind wholesalers hoping to acquire for resale.

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NY Observer—Get Your Rocks Off: Kissing the Ring at Fortuna Auction’s Fall Fine Jewels Preview

By Drew Grant

New York Observer

… Everywhere we looked was gold, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, diamonds, diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Mauboussin, Tiffany & Co., and David Webb all made appearance in wearable form, as well as several items from Ms. Yarmak’s personal collection. Michele Gerber Klein, Elena Moussa, Mickey Boardman, Cass Almendral, and R. Couri Hay mingled among the champagne and baubles, occasionally trying on an especially transfixing piece before circling its corresponding number in the catalog.

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