After more than 40 years as Auction Director, and later Chief Auctioneer of the World’s Largest Numismatic Auctioneer, the masterful Bob Merrill is retiring.
Merrill has been there since the beginning. He joined Steve Ivy Numismatic Auctions shortly after the company was established in 1976; the company became Heritage Numismatic Auctions in 1982.
“His experience as a history teacher and part-time coin dealer, not to mention his work ethic and exuberance, made Bob the perfect candidate for the position of Heritage’s first Director … and first auction employee!”Steve Ivy, Co-Founder and CEO of Heritage Auctions.
Since those early years, Heritage has grown to become the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer, as well as the largest auction house founded in the United States. As lead auctioneer, Merrill has wielded the hammer for some of Heritage’s most important sales, including the finest-certified 1787 Brasher, Punch on Wing doubloon ($4.58 million), the Walton Specimen of the 1913 Liberty Nickel ($3.17 million), coins from the legendary Eric P. Newman collection, plus literally billions of dollars in rare coins and currency.
“Without Bob Merrill,” says Heritage Auctions Co-Founder Jim Halperin, “Heritage Auctions would never have existed.”
Chief Numismatics Cataloger Mark Van Winkle recalls how Merrill stood out from other auctioneers.
“He called auctions with depth and knowledge of history and coins. He could add color commentary to any auction. He really did his homework. And he has a great sense of humor. He’s a fun person to be around. Everyone who remembers those late-into-the-evening auctions when Bob started handing out candy to keep things lively will miss him.”
The accolades Bob received from the collecting community and those that worked with, and for him, are far too numerous to list here. Suffice it to say he will go down as one the most important numismatic luminaries of the last 45 years, Ivy says.
In 1997, Merrill reduced his workload and relocated to Oregon. Now, he is officially retiring. For being a key player in the growth of Heritage Auctions over the past four decades, the HA team sends Bob its sincerest love, thanks and appreciation.