Top Auctioneer to Speak at Wilmington College's Annual Stolle Lecture

Ulysses S. Grant's Sword Sold for $1.7 Million

April 6, 2010

The founder of the third largest auction house in the world will be the featured speaker at Wilmington College’s 2010 Ralph J. Stolle Distinguished Lecture Series April 14, at 7 p.m., in Kelly Center.

Steve Ivy, founder of the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, will speak about the challenges of starting a business and growing it to become a world leader.

Established in 1976, Ivy began his company by selling coins through ads in magazines. Today his auction house sells some of the finest collectibles in the world of art, antiques, books, coins, comic books and other artifacts.

In January, a 1913 Liberty Nickel sold through Heritage Auctions for $3.73 million — this ties for the third largest sum ever paid for a single coin.

Two years ago, Ivy’s company sold a sword belonging to Ulysses S. Grant for $1.7 million and, last summer, Heritage Auctions sold the derringer that the gangster John Dillinger was carrying when he was arrested in Tucson, Ariz., more than 75 years ago.

Ivy will discuss how his company began, as well as the challenges of keeping it competitive.

Light refreshments will precede the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. The series is free of charge.

The annual lecture series is named in memory of the late Ralph J. Stolle, whom Steven A. Stovall, chair of WC’s entrepreneurship program, describes as “the epitome of the entrepreneur.” Stolle, a former WC trustee, is well known for developing the equipment to manufacture pop-tops for beverage cans, as well as holding more 50 patents in various other industries, including agriculture.