Dallas-based auction company Heritage Auctions have responded to allegations from speedrunner and YouTuber Karl Jobst who made a 52-minute video noting some possible market manipulation and fraud by both the auction company and WATA. In a statement to VGC, Heritage Auction stated the following:
“Heritage Auctions wishes it had been given the opportunity to respond before the video’s publication, because there are numerous misstatements of fact and inaccurate conclusions contained within the piece.
“Heritage strongly refutes any allegation that it or its officers are involved in shill bidding, “market manipulation” or any similarly illegal or unethical practices. Heritage prides itself on our transparency and being a place built by and for collectors.”
Video game grading company WATA have also since released the following statement:
“Wata Games is the trusted leader in collectible video game grading and we’re honored to play a key role in this booming industry that we are incredibly passionate about. We’re humbled by the support of our thousands of customers who trust us to provide accurate and transparent grading.
In the video, Jobst alledges that Wata president and CEO Deniz Kahn and Heritage Auctions co-founder Jim Halperin have been manipulating the prices of graded video games at an extraordinary rate. The video showed that both companies had a very close relation prior to Heritage Auction starting video game auctions on their site.
Other allegations and evidence include manipulating prices via press releases, Heritage only selling WATA-graded video games, Halperin being listed as an advisor on the Wata site, and even coordinating together on an episode of Pawn Stars were both were featured with a sealed and graded copy the Super Mario Bros.