Rago Auctions in Lambertville, New Jersey, and Wright Auctions of Chicago and New York City have recently announced the merger of their business operations. Both houses will continue to operate under their individual names at their respective locations but will start sharing technology, expertise, and marketing efforts while also collaborating on co-branded projects. With a combined $65 million in annual sales and an expanded team of 75 employees, the two businesses hope that there's power in numbers. It remains to be seen how this impacts their respective pools of consignors and buyers.
Wright Auctions founder Richard Wright will take the helm of the combined companies as CEO as they continue to collaborate on upcoming sales, including their Masterworks of American Crafts auction scheduled for Nov 23rd and their first Modernist Jewelry auction in January 2020. Husband-and-wife duo David Rago and Suzanne Perrault, who both appear regularly on the PBS Antiques Roadshow auction program, will both hold the title of president in the larger company. Perrault told the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet she’s looking forward to expanding the network of specialists through the merger.
“One of the great boons of being on Antiques Roadshow, for both my husband David and myself, is the expansion of relationships with specialists from around the country knowing things we don’t, even in the fields where we’re involved,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot from them, but we also are able to call on them and they on us. We’ve already started doing this with Richard’s group; when we’re offered design and they’re offered other things, we get to bounce things off of each other, and that’s very helpful.”
According to Perrault, the formerly separate companies' areas of specialization in the glass art world — Rago's in contemporary glass and Wright's in 20th-century Murano glass — complement one another.
“Italian glass is a very difficult field to navigate, and expertise and trust from the buyers are a big part of it,” Perrault said. “[Wright] and his experts have been doing a fine job, among the best in the world. They have the trust of collectors all over, and they have been able to reach and break records over and over again, so to be associated with them in that capacity is wonderful.”