Mossgreen Auctions Australia in Administration. Total KAPUT?

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by ozstamps »

carolynwebb wrote:Hello. I'm a journalist at The Age newspaper.

Am keen to speak to creditors or anyone else who might have information about the company.

Please email me at carolynwebb [at] fairfaxmedia.com.au or ring 03 8667 2134.

Off the record if you wish.

Thanks. Carolyn Webb.
I think readers in Victoria and NSW etc (and probably nationally in Fairfax) where your story was published, need to know the TRUTH Carolyn.

It appears you were fed large shovelfuls of steaming manure when you ran your previous glowing story linked above.

Mr Sumner appears to have given you all kinds of comforting assurances and promises after his powers as a Director had been stripped from him, but you reported them anyway. And you referred to him as Chief Executive.

Many vendors with $100,000s of material booked in for 2018 might have read your piece, and been comforted and re-assured all was fine and under control. :idea:

http://www.smh.com.au/national/auction-house-mossgreen-goes- ... 0abvf.html
Auction house Mossgreen enters voluntary administration

Carolyn Webb is a reporter for "The Age".

The co-owner of high-profile art gallery and auction house Mossgreen says creditors will not be out of pocket after the shock news the company has gone into voluntary administration.

Paul Sumner, who is also chief executive and co-founder, said the move was due to debts following the company's rapid expansion and the withdrawal of its key investor.

On December 21 Mossgreen, which has branches in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland, thanked customers via its Facebook page for their 2017 support and announced its holiday office closure.

The next day, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission announced that administrators had been appointed for Mossgreen Pty Ltd.

A BDO media release says they are undertaking "an urgent assessment of the business and will be exploring all options".

The first meeting of creditors will be held in BDO's Melbourne office on January 4.

Mossgreen was founded in Melbourne in 2004 by Mr Sumner and wife Amanda Swanson. Its significant recent growth was bankrolled by businessman Jack Gringlas.

In 2013, Mossgreen acquired coin, stamp and memorabilia experts Charles Leski Auctions and in 2015 acquired New Zealand auction house Webb's.

In 2016, Mossgreen opened its first Sydney auction rooms and gallery, in the exclusive suburb of Woollahra.

Mr Sumner said Mossgreen did not plan to close any outlets or lose staff, and creditors would be paid.

(All non contract staff it seems had been handed termination letters when you spoke to him, and the up market Queen Street Woollahra Sydney office was closed down it seems after a million or so had just been spent tarting it up.)

"Not one vendor, or one buyer will lose one dollar in this process," he said.

The first of Mossgreen's 2018 auctions would proceed on February 5. Items held under consignment to sell or buy wouldnot be lost to their owners.

Mr Sumner said all creditors had been informed of the administration. (Hmmmm .. what about upcoming VENDORS consigning many $ millions already?????)

"Mossgreen is a business that relies on trust, so when you do something like this, your reputation will be affected, by how you deal with your vendors and buyers."

Mossgreen is known for its sale of single-owner collections such as British collector Frank Cohen's 80 contemporary artworks valued at more than $5.8 million.
And then Carolyn, you cheerfully go on to list numerous other past sales from the 'glory days' - a bit like a losing Football coach reminding all of his team successes in 2014 and 2012 et, that are totally irrelevant in 2018, when you are down near bottom of the league!

If total assets are stated to be about $3M (and if a chunk of that is office equipment, endless cartons of ancient sale catalogues, "goodwill", computers, phones, cars, and shelving and stationary etc you might get 500k-$1M for them in a fire sale) and DEBTS at about $12M and climbing very rapidly with wages, rent and Administrators fees, and one SECURED creditor is owed about $6m, no MBA needs to tell you what is likely going on here for unsecured creditors.

And it appears no-one yet has added one cent of loss from NZ subsidiary Webbs into these figures above, as it seems so far BDO have no real data. YET. Sumner also cheerfully advised the NZ media after his powers were removed -

"Sumner added that Mossgreen-Webb's in New Zealand is not affected by the Australian arm going into administration." Reports in the leading NZ newspaper today, appear to make that claim also very spurious.

Administrators have gobbled up $A200K already by their own figures, and that will multiply many fold, history shows us, chomping up most of the actual assets on hand. A familiar story.

Mr Sumner and his wife might have a lazy $10-15M lying about to drop kick into the kitty, and possibly never see again, to pay out all vendors and creditors, and all is then well. Or maybe a nice warm fuzzy bank will cheerfully take on this total train wreck, for fun? They are well known that that kind of benevolence.

Sumner needs to lodge a Deed Of Arrangement pretty soon to BDO it appears.

Too often these kind of folks have their real estate and cars and investments and Super etc all owned by blind trusts etc, that cannot be easily touched. I hope not.

We shall see.

It it was YOUR family selling ~$500,000 of Art in December at Mossgreen as one did, and possibly unlikely to see a cent of that, you may not be so happy to accept earnest promises of all payments being made. :idea:
This article was in today's "Sydney Morning Herald":

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/private-sydney/pri ... 102-h0cp8y

Following Professor Coppleson's death last year, 12 years after his wife died from cancer, much of their vast collection went under the hammer in early December through auction house Mossgreen, raising more than $500,000.

But on Christmas Eve the Coppleson's children, Mark, Victoria and Richard, received some troubling news: Mossgreen had been placed into voluntary administration after being advised that it risked becoming insolvent. The Copplesons are yet to see a cent of the proceeds from the sale.

"I couldn't sleep at all when I heard that," Mark Coppleson told PS.

Mossgreen co-owner and chief executive Paul Sumner was quick to assure the Copplesons, among other clients, their money was safe. He told PS this week: "I want to assure every vendor that they will get their money ... every cent of it."

Sumner had enjoyed a jetset lifestyle, mingling with Mick Fleetwood and even scoring his own "ambassadorship" with luxury carmaker Jaguar. Mossgreen's turnover grew to $39.6 million in 2015. Staff numbers jumped to 55.

However, at a creditors meeting in Melbourne on Thursday it was revealed Mossgreen had crippling debts of $12 million and when asked about the chances of creditors getting their money back, former director Jack Gringlas, owed $6 million, said "it doesn't look good".

Administrators BDO told 50 anxious people there were around 400 creditors and that Mosssgreen had assets of just $3 million.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11974861

Aussie administrators put eyes over Kiwi auction house


14 Jan, 2018 10:45am

By: Hamish Fletcher
Business Editor, New Zealand Herald


One of country's most well-known auction houses is being urgently assessed by Australian administrators, who say they will be "exploring all options" for the business.

It follows the Australian owner of Mossgreen-Webb's being put into voluntary administration just before Christmas.

Melbourne-headquartered Mossgreen, which bought Webb's auction house in Parnell in 2015, owes A$12 million (NZ$13.1m) to 400 creditors.

Administrators, James White, Andrew Sallway and Nicholas Martin of BDO in Australia, say that Mossgreen's assets amount to about A$3m and that they do not yet have details of any New Zealand creditors.

They expect to have more information this week.

Mossgreen's chief executive Paul Sumner told the Herald late last year that the voluntary administration would not impact the New Zealand business.

The administrators have since said in a statement that they "are undertaking an urgent assessment of Mossgreen NZ Limited and will be exploring all options".

Mossgreen NZ trades as Webb's, according to the Companies Register.

When purchasing Webb's, Sumner described Mossgreen as "Australia's largest and highest-grossing auction house and the most favoured avenue for collectors when they are selling complete collections".

"Since acquiring the former Webb's auction house in New Zealand, the company is now run as a transtasman regional business," Mossgreen-Webb's website says.

Mossgreen in Australia was put into voluntary administration on December 21, according to a public notice.

Voluntary administration, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), is a process "designed to resolve a company's future direction quickly".

"An independent and suitably qualified person (the voluntary administrator) takes full control of the company to try to work out a way to save either the company or its business," ASIC says on its website.

Sumner said in a statement to clients and other stakeholders last year that "Mossgreen has chosen to take a path of voluntary administration during the month of January at a time that will least impact our clients and which will allow the company to restructure its business".

Set up in the 1970s, Webb's has exhibited some of the country's most well-known artists, including works by Colin McCahon and Gottfried Lindauer.


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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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https://www.propertyobserver.com.au/forward-planning/investm ... ation.html


Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

12 January 2018

Creditors told no law required auction trust accounts before Mossgreen administration

The creditors who attended the first Mossgreen creditors' meeting last week have been advised no law required trust accounts for the auction proceeds.

The auction house Mossgreen fell into voluntary external administration last month, and its creditors anxiously await a rescue package with the promised full repayment from its founder, Paul Sumner.

Sumner told media outlets - ahead of the 1.30 hour meeting which he did not attend - that no creditor would be out of pocket.

Inside the meeting there was a sense of forbode.

"Looking at the present figures, it appears that the best case scenario for creditors is no return," one of the despondent 330 creditors represented at the meeting suggested.

Sumner, the son of art and antique dealers, said the administration was due to debts following the company's rapid expansion and the withdrawal of its key investor, Jack Gringlas, who is the major secured creditor.

In July last year, Sumner and his wife, Amanda Swanson bought back Gringlas' share of the business.

"Since then, we've been advised to take the [voluntary administration] course, as the best way to clear historical debt – associated with previous investors – out of the business, and restructure the company and move forward," Mr Sumner told his local paper, The Age.

"Not one vendor or one buyer will lose one dollar in this process," he said.

"Mossgreen is a business that relies on trust, so when you do something like this, your reputation will be affected, by how you deal with your vendors and buyers."

“It is the best was to clear historical debt, accrued through previous investors,” Sumner also told the rival Herald Sun.

He even told the Sydney Morning Herald Private Sydney gossip columnist Andrew Hornery: "I want to assure every vendor that they will get their money ... every cent of it."

Mossgreen, known for its Armadale tea rooms at 926-930 High Street, and single-owner house content sales, owes $5.8 million to auction clients, plus $6 million to the former part-owner, Jack Gringlas with interest being charged at $40,000 a month.

The first creditors' meeting was told the assets were $1.6 million cash in the bank along with $1.2 million owed by auction lot buyers, who have a legal binding contract that can not be terminated by the administrators.

The staff are owed possibly around $1 million.
The company's superannuation and tax obligations were indicated as "relatively" up to date.

College Capital came forward at the creditors' meeting asking to be noted as a secured creditor. The secured Westpac amount was a $12,000 credit card facility.

The biggest unsecured creditor stemmed from the auction of a book collection.

Some $1.75 million is owed to the family of the late wealthy insurance underwriter Martin Copley who auctioned off the books in October.


The first question at the creditors' meeting asked on the status of any auction sale proceeds.

The meeting chairman advised "that the company was not required by law to operate a trust account."

The administrators were exploring whether a constructive trust arrangement existed.

It was likely they would approach the courts to rule on the matter.

This course was challenged by Minter Ellison lawyer Lindsay Powers, on behalf of art collector Michele Asprey, who suggested "this was the clearest case of a trust relationship he has encountered."

The chairman advised that initial legal advice had been obtained and it was considered necessary to obtain directions from the court "due to the various classes of creditors, the estimated shortfall to creditors and the overall complexity of the matter."

The chairman, James White from BDO, indicated his personal view was that unsold goods held on consignment remained the property of the vendors.

The chairman indicated the administrators were not planning to hold any auctions. The Queen Street, Woollahra premises were to be vacated. It was the intention of the administrators to advertise the business for sale/retructure. Unsold consignment items will be available for collection from January 15 in an orderly way.

In August The Australian Financial Review reported Mossgreen was shedding more than a dozen staff, adding Sumner advised it is business as usual at the Melbourne-based auction house, "which continues to line up sales at a frenetic pace."

Sumner said the staff restructure reflected the firm's increasing focus on single-owner collections and higher value lots following its expansion in recent years - including the merger with the Charles Leski stamp auction group in 2013 and the takeover of New Zealand's Webb's in 2016.

"We've probably grown a little bit fast considering that the market plateaued," Sumner told the mainstream media late December after the news emerged pre-Christmas on Property Observer of the administrators being called in.

"I'll be the first to say that that's the case," he advised.

"What we're doing now is the opposite. We're restructuring, taking out some of the costs of our business, so that we are a much leaner, healthier business starting from the first of February."

The media also reported Sumner said Mossgreen did not plan to close any outlets.

The creditors' meeting chairman noted the current situation was that "the company had a high cost base with substantial rent costs, a large number of employees and was funding the losses of the New Zealand business."

The NZ business was indebted to the company for in excess of $1 million.

"Auction monies were essentially used to fund the working capital and trading losses of the business," the creditors were told by the chairman as he closed the meeting.

Asked by a creditor on the 100% repayment advisory from Sumner, the chairman replied: "This was the view of Mr Sumner, and did not reflect the administrators' position."


Creditors departed, concerned that the limited known available proceeds will be reduced by administration fees and court costs.


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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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What a horrible mess. :roll: :evil:


https://www.propertyobserver.com.au/forward-planning/investm ... itors.html

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

12 January 2018

Peter Rowland Catering caught amid the Mossgreen auction house administration creditors

Peter Rowland, the Melbourne society catering company ranks among the top six unsecured creditors, after the auction house Mossgreen fell into voluntary external administration last month.

Mossgreen, known for its Armadale tea rooms at 926-930 High Street, and single-owner house content sales, owes $5.8 million to auction clients, plus $6 million to its secured creditor, the former part-owner, Jack Gringlas.

The assets have been advised as $1.6 million in the bank and $1.2 million owed by auction lot buyers.

Around $166,000 is owed to the catering company who sent its executive director Steven Abela to the first creditors' meeting. There were 330 creditors identified at the meeting last week who were told no law required trust accounts for the auction proceeds.

The names of the creditors are a who's who from across Australia, ranging from passionate collectors, socialites, low key business tycoons to deceased estates.

The biggest unsecured creditor stemmed from the auction of a book collection.

Some $1.75 million is owed to the family of the late wealthy insurance underwriter Martin Copley who auctioned off the books in October.

The British-born Copley, but Perth-based businessman, remembered for founding the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), died in 2014.

His auction items included John Gould's monumental The Birds of Australia, a large folio in eight volumes with 681 hand-coloured lithographed plates, bound in dark green morocco by Riviere, an original subscriber's set, which sold at $446,400 including premium.

Martin's daughter, Sophie Chamberlain sits on the board of AWC.

The second biggest client was another deceased estate, that of the late South Australian building industry icon Alan Hickinbotham and his late wife Margaret.

It was billed as the highest value collection ever to be sold in Adelaide when auctioned in May by Mossgreen's chief, Paul Sumner.


The family are still owned somewhere between $960,000 and $1.2 million. The sold works included a Russell Drysdale, Grandma’s Sunday Walk, which had an estimated value of $1.8 million to $2.2 million. It was one of the last masterpieces painted by acclaimed Australian artist just before he lost his eyesight — selling for $2.97 million, the fifth-highest price for any Australian artwork at auction.

The total collection in the Unley Park home sold for $4.35 million.

Sydney's society Coppleson family were listed as owed $465,000, the third highest-owed creditor.

It followed the sale of the contents of the Macleay Regis penthouse, home of the late esteemed gynaecologist Professor Malcolm Coppleson and his late wife, Patricia, who was Vogue Living’s editor-at-large.

The 172 lots (pictured above onsite) included the sale of a $192,200 Ian Fairweather work which had an $80,000 to $120,000 price guidance. A Tim Maguire fetched $117,800.

Trevor Chappell, the Sydney-based property developer, is owed $130,000, having developed a strong appreciation of Aboriginal art with wife, Carole before they then diversified into modern Western art. The works were initially displayed at the couple's Sydney home but as the collection grew it went on show at the company's offices and then toured community groups across Australia.

The collection was offered following a review of the Chappell family's estate planning.

Mossgreen's most recent auction on December 7 last year was the contents of the Sheehy family with just 274 of the 438 lots being sold. The family, who are owed $45,000, inquired at the meeting whether Sumner's passport would be surrendered.

Ralph Drexel was listed as being owed $43,000.

The Jelbart family were owed $50,000 after the sale of the contents of the trophy Eltham home, Kinloch.

Torbjorn Von Strokirch is owned $225,000. (Scandinavia mailed covers collection.)

Perth socialite Rhonda Wyllie is owed $145,000. Ruth Rosalion owed $43,000.

Leonie Weldon ranks among the creditors owned $32,000.

Tom Frommer is owed $17,000. Frommer's collection of pioneer Australian air mails was billed as one of the more important events in the philatelic calendar.

Deeta McGeogh, Michele Asprey, Patsy Kentwell, Vernia Bullivant, Bill Curry, and Ellen Kronen (the Waterhouse family collection) were owned between $1000 and $10,000.

Likewise Rex Dupain after the sale of Max Dupain works.

Sam Gazal, Judy Roach, Michael Greenhalgh and Manuela Bennett are among the creditors owed $1000 or less. There was also Garry Hounsell.

John Gould was owed $862.

Paul Sumner, who opted not to attend the meeting, and his fellow director, and wife, Amanda Swanson were listed as being entitled to $470.

Sumner, the son of art and antique dealers, took his first auction at age 17.

Judi Hausmann appears on the creditors list without any amount showing, as did Antony Loneragan.

Businesses owed money include Grace Worldwide owed $43,000, Courtney Colour catalogues $62,000 plus, Talisman Art owed $176,000, Exhibitions & Trade Fairs owed $90,000 and the ad agency Spinach owed $50,000.

Brooklands Classic Cars owed $48,000 has asked the BDO administrators to seek out the motor car trader guarantee fund.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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Global Administrator wrote: The second biggest client was another deceased estate, that of the late South Australian building industry icon Alan Hickinbotham and his late wife Margaret.

It was billed as the highest value collection ever to be sold in Adelaide when auctioned in May by Mossgreen's chief, Paul Sumner.


The family are still owned somewhere between $960,000 and $1.2 million. The sold works included a Russell Drysdale, Grandma’s Sunday Walk, which had an estimated value of $1.8 million to $2.2 million. It was one of the last masterpieces painted by acclaimed Australian artist just before he lost his eyesight — selling for $2.97 million, the fifth-highest price for any Australian artwork at auction.

The total collection in the Unley Park home sold for $4.35 million.
Out of interest I checked when the Hickinbotham Auction sale was - answer JUNE 2017 -

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-25/artist-russell-drysdal ... 3m/8650364

So 7 months later, how was a million or so still owed I wonder? And like the failed Velvet Auctions, why on earth would anyone choose to wait that long for payment?

Maybe they paid out bits and pieces of sums owed when vendors yelled loudly enough?

Are any members here owed money (well Tom Frommer is a member) and how far back was the Auction your goods were sold in?

I hope our stamp department friends are not among the staff owed $1 million in back wages etc.

Just phoned mossgreen number and asked if I had some materiel to sell are they still running auctions and was told "Yes of course it is all business as usual in here". Highly misleading was one of my thoughts on hearing that. :roll: :roll:

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11975774

Auckland auction house Mossgreen-Webb's will close if a buyer can't be found.

Mossgreen-Webb's is in liquidation after its Australian owner was put into voluntary administration just before Christmas.

Melbourne-headquartered Mossgreen, which bought Webb's auction house in Parnell in 2015, owes A$12 million ($13.1m) to 400 creditors.

Liquidators of the New Zealand arm of the business, Andrew Bethell and Andrew McKay, have yet to file their first report but are expected to by the end of this week.

"The New Zealand staff of Mossgreen-Webb's have achieved significant sales in the market last year and are all experts within their fields. While it is the intention of the liquidators to close the business, a sale would be considered and expressions of interest are sought for this successful Auckland auction house," Bethell and McKay said today.

"The liquidators and Mossgreen-Webb's staff will work to ensure the swift and orderly return of vendors' property. To that end vendors are asked to contact Mossgreen-Webb's immediately to arrange collection of their items," they said.

When purchasing Webb's, chief executive Paul Sumner described Mossgreen as "Australia's largest and highest-grossing auction house and the most favoured avenue for collectors when they are selling complete collections".

Set up in the 1970s, Webb's has exhibited work by some of the country's best-known artists, including Colin McCahon and Gottfried Lindauer.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by deebee444 »

I noticed that they still have some items listed on Ebay,

https://www.ebay.com/sch/mossgreen-au/m.html?_trksid=p3692

The material looks like it is part of Torsten Weller's stock,

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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Useful update Barry, and the report above it, indicated the NZ Subsidiary owed Australia about $A1m so that sounds pretty terminal.

All those unpaid vendors there I am sure take huge comfort in Sumner's recent "NZ Herald" written promise all was well. :roll: :roll: :roll:

Global Administrator wrote:
Does anyone know what the position is at webb/mossgreen in NZ?

Sumner also assured NZ Media in December all was well - "Sumner said the (Australian) administration wouldn't impact the New Zealand business" but it seems clear to me at least, reading the BPO Debtor report notes, that NZ is almost certainly headed down the same path as oz, once the NZ version of the ASIC type paperwork process is put in place?

Note 3 below calls Webbs a "subsidiary"
Image
What I find most distasteful is that as I type this, the NZ and oz websites have ZERO notice the company is under Administration - not a word - even under Media notices - can anyone else see anything?

https://www.mossgreen-webbs.co.nz/content/

https://www.mossgreen.com.au/content/

Three weeks after the Liquidator has been in place, this strikes me as highly deceptive as most prospective vendors will almost all be totally in the dark of what is really going on.

BDO have billed out about $A200,000 already, and adding a short note on websites (that they control totally) to buyers and sellers they were now in place, and making the calls, seems a bare minimum requirement surely?
Image
https://www.mossgreen-webbs.co.nz/content/news/mossgreen-nz-l ... een-webbs/



At least the NZ website (above) is now honest. Not a word on the Australian one of any issues at all, and phone staff this afternoon assured me all was well when I asked. :roll: :roll:

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Lakatoi 4 »

So all up the remaining assets are $2.8M in both cash and money owing from buyers.

Assuming that they aren't rescued at the last minute and they do go into liquidation, once the Administrators, the employees and ATO get their part of those funds (if there is sufficient to do that), there will be precious little left for the secured creditors and the unsecured creditors will sadly be left with $0.

I cannot understand why secured creditors at least wouldn't have demanded some sort of ironclad surety over their loans, then again you need to have saleable, unencumbered assets such as real estate for that.

You never know, the press and notoriety this is generating may start legislation requiring all auction monies from sales to be held in either reputable escrow or trust fund accounts.
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by BigSaint »

Lakatoi 4 wrote:So all up the remaining assets are $2.8M in both cash and money owing from buyers.

Assuming that they aren't rescued at the last minute and they do go into liquidation, once the Administrators, the employees and ATO get their part of those funds (if there is sufficient to do that), there will be precious little left for the secured creditors and the unsecured creditors will sadly be left with $0.

I cannot understand why secured creditors at least wouldn't have demanded some sort of ironclad surety over their loans, then again you need to have saleable, unencumbered assets such as real estate for that.

You never know, the press and notoriety this is generating may start legislation requiring all auction monies from sales to be held in either reputable escrow or trust fund accounts.
Maybe they have & the asset that is offered as security for the secured creditors is not on the balance sheet of Mossgreen. If this is the case then the whole Mossgreen Empire may come down like a "House Of Cards".

If I was the secured creditor I would want nothing short of bricks & mortar to secure my loan.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Global Administrator »

Agree Tony, it is totally unacceptable that people's goods can be sold - over a million dollars worth as we can see above in individual cases - and the buyer's money not be securely placed in some kind of Trust Account.

If L.J. Hooker sell my home at auction for $1 million they can't simply spend that million on holidays or drugs or racehorses or a yacht etc - so how does that differ from a $1m stamp collection or painting sold at a major auction?

Makes no sense. :roll:

Until each solicitor does the exchange at settlement, the title and ownership of the home does not change hands. Seems like a great system to me.
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Clive »

Just phoned mossgreen number and asked if I had some materiel to sell are they still running auctions and was told "Yes of course it is all business as usual in here". Highly misleading was one of my thoughts on hearing that. :roll: :roll:
'Misleading' doesn't do it justice. So much for my faith in human nature and the unequivocal guarantees repeatedly given by the CEO.

Sad, bad times all round.

Put your stamp business with Tasmanian Stamp Auctions. No buyers' commission either.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by mcgooley »

mcgooley wrote:I don't know much about how these things work. Tony gave me to understand that until consignments are actually processed for sale they remain the property of their owners.

Is this correct?
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Global Administrator »

mossgreen Administrator wrote:
The first creditors' meeting was told the assets were $1.6 million cash in the bank along with $1.2 million owed by auction lot buyers, who have a legal binding contract that can not be terminated by the administrators.

The staff are owed possibly around $1 million. The company's superannuation and tax obligations were indicated as "relatively" up to date.
Brad or an accountant might know if the $1.6M "cash" figure typically counts office equipment and suchlike, or just real cash in bank?

If it counts 'assets' and mastheads and so on, one might be at half that in "real money".

"relatively" up to date Tax and Super seems to indicate a chunk is still owed there, and that rates pretty highly in pecking order. I think.

BDO are already owed 200K as of the date of 1st meeting. That bill has not even started ticking. The NZ liquidators will soon run up $50K or $100K I am sure.

The First meeting pointed to Courts being asked to adjudicate on various matters that were agreed to. Toss in 100K in legal fees as a start point.

Minter Ellison lawyers were in there representing one client. They do not sneeze for anything less than $1000 an hour.

Anything much left in the kitty, for those counting? :roll: :roll: :roll:

Thanks goodness Sumner has promised endless times publicly no-one will lose anything. He is raising the spare $15 million now I am sure. So he will end up owning (again) with a nice Auction house, with almost no vendors to serve the debt. Great guy. :idea:


$1.2 million owed by auction lot buyers, who have a legal binding contract that can not be terminated by the administrators.

Good luck with getting all of that BDO. If I owed $1000 or $10,000 for a stamp purchase in December, am I going to do a Bank transfer for that, and desperately hope I ever see any stamps - they are out of their minds!
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Lakatoi 4 »

mcgooley,

From one of the posts above, this statement from the Administrator which agrees with my understanding of these situations:

"The chairman, James White from BDO, indicated his personal view was that unsold goods held on consignment remained the property of the vendors."

As soon as BDO give the OK for vendors to retrieve their unconsigned material, there may be a stampede even though there's no need for that to occur. Human nature is what it is :idea:
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Rod Perry »

Global Administrator wrote:$1.2 million owed by auction lot buyers, who have a legal binding contract that can not be terminated by the administrators.

Good luck with getting all of that BDO. If I owed $1000 or $10,000 for a stamp purchase in December, am I going to do a Bank transfer for that, and desperately hope I ever see any stamps - they are out of their minds!
Hmmm.

This assumes all buyers received pro forma invoices.

When I bought from Mossgreen I received auction lots with invoice for payment.

I'm sure I was not alone in enjoying this goodwill arrangement.

Is it conceivable some buyers, who received/took delivery of auction purchases prior to payment, may be a bit slower than usual in settling?

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Global Administrator »

Rod yes the well known trade generally get some wiggle room ..... but my hunch is the vast bulk of buys are "pay first please - we mail when we get DA money" deals. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by BigSaint »

Global Administrator wrote:
mossgreen Administrator wrote:
The first creditors' meeting was told the assets were $1.6 million cash in the bank along with $1.2 million owed by auction lot buyers, who have a legal binding contract that can not be terminated by the administrators.

The staff are owed possibly around $1 million. The company's superannuation and tax obligations were indicated as "relatively" up to date.
Brad or an accountant might know if the $1.6M "cash" figure typically counts office equipment and suchlike, or just real cash in bank?
Glen

Cash is cash. Cash on hand, cash at bank & cash on deposit.

Office equipment & such like would described as office equipment, furniture & fittings.

If cash of $1.6m, auction debtors of $1.2m & total assets are $3m, then there are $200,000 of other bits & pieces.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by BigSaint »

Global Administrator wrote:Rod yes the well known trade generally get some wiggle room ..... but my hunch is the vast bulk of buys are "pay first please - we mail when we get DA money" deals. :lol: :lol:
Yes the last time I bought from Mossgreen I had to hand over the credit card first, but who knows what happens in the "Arts" & "Cars" businesses.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by GJ50 »

Global Administrator wrote: Torbjorn Von Strokirch is owned $225,000. (Scandinavia mailed covers collection.)
What a shame, the late Hans was lovely gentleman who exhibited his Iceland and got some wonderful awards.

Disappointing the family is caught up in all this.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by ebayer »

Kevin Morgan wrote:
Monogram wrote:
"Any creditors wanting more info may email Torsten Weller, whose address appears on their website."

I presume this is to ward off a barrage of press and people who are likely to be fronting up at their premises on Monday morning.
My son already emailed Torsten Weller and Gary Watson twice about stock that they hold no response
This might assist you getting your money or stock - mossgreen are listed as APTA members.

If you consigned based on that, they will try and get your money back as their Code Of ethics seems to cover it -

http://www.apta.com.au/Code_of_Ethics.aspx

If they do not hand over your goods, APTA should expel them I'd suggest.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by aethelwulf »

ebayer wrote:If they do not hand over your goods, APTA should expel them I'd suggest.
If the firm itself goes out of business, expelling them from a professional body would be moot.

For the directors, their individual memberships would be another matter.
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

MOSSGREEN NZ

Here is the formal notice posted on the NZ Companies register:

MOSSGREEN NZ LIMITED (5849111) In Liquidation

This Company currently has Liquidators, Receivers or Voluntary Administrators appointed

Company number: 5849111
NZBN: 9429042073567
Incorporation Date: 24 Nov 2015
Company Status: In Liquidation

Registered: from 24 Nov 2015 to 12 Jan 2018

Liquidation: from 12 Jan 2018
Status: Active
Liquidator: BETHELL, ANDREW JAMES
Organisation: BDO AUCKLAND
Phone: +64 9 3792950
Email: bri.akl@bdo.co.nz
Address: Level 4, 4 Graham Street, Auckland, 1010, NZ
Appointed: 12 Jan 2018
Liquidator: MCKAY, Andrew
Organisation: BDO AUCKLAND
Phone: +64 9 3668168
Email: bri.akl@bdo.co.nz
Address: Level 4, 4 Graham Street, Auckland, 1010, NZ
Appointed: 12 Jan 2018
Reports Liquidator First Report due 19 Jan 2018
Entity type: NZ Limited Company
Constitution filed: No
AR filing month: November , last filed on 15 Nov 2017
FRA Reporting Month: March

Ultimate holding company Mossgreen PTY Limited
Type of entity: PTY Company
Registration number / ID: 163353053
Country of registration: Australia
Registered office address: DFK Benjamin King Money, Level 3,689 Burke Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
Company addresses: Registered Office
Mossgreen-Webb's, 23-25 Falcon Street, Parnell, Auckland, 1052 , New Zealand
Pending address change
Address for service: Webb's, 23-25 Falcon Street, Parnell, Auckland, 1052 , New Zealand
Pending address change

Directors: Showing 1 of 1 directors
Paul Jeremy SUMNER
1 Enfield Street, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182 , Australia

Company record link:http://app.companiesoffice.govt.nz/co/5849111

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

This report has been superceded by the news report of 16 Jan 2017 which confirmed Mossgreen NZ was in liquidation. But all useful Mossgreen info belongs in this thread so posting this here.

Aussie administrators put eyes over Kiwi auction house

14 Jan, 2018 10:45am
By: Hamish Fletcher
Business Editor, NZ Herald
hamish.fletcher@nzherald.co.nz @hamishfletcher
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11974861

One of country's most well-known auction houses is being urgently assessed by Australian administrators, who say they will be "exploring all options" for the business.

It follows the Australian owner of Mossgreen-Webb's being put into voluntary administration just before Christmas.

Melbourne-headquartered Mossgreen, which bought Webb's auction house in Parnell in 2015, owes A$12 million ($13.1m) to 400 creditors.

Administrators, James White, Andrew Sallway and Nicholas Martin of BDO in Australia, say that Mossgreen's assets amount to about A$3m and that they do not yet have details of any New Zealand creditors.

They expect to have more information this week.

Mossgreen's chief executive Paul Sumner told the Herald late last year that the voluntary administration would not impact the New Zealand business.

The administrators have since said in a statement that they "are undertaking an urgent assessment of Mossgreen NZ Limited and will be exploring all options".

Mossgreen NZ trades as Webb's, according to the Companies Register.

When purchasing Webb's, Sumner described Mossgreen as "Australia's largest and highest-grossing auction house and the most favoured avenue for collectors when they are selling complete collections".

"Since acquiring the former Webb's auction house in New Zealand, the company is now run as a transtasman regional business," Mossgreen-Webb's website says.

Mossgreen in Australia was put into voluntary administration on December 21, according to a public notice.

Voluntary administration, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), is a process "designed to resolve a company's future direction quickly".

"An independent and suitably qualified person (the voluntary administrator) takes full control of the company to try to work out a way to save either the company or its business," ASIC says on its website.

Sumner said in a statement to clients and other stakeholders last year that "Mossgreen has chosen to take a path of voluntary administration during the month of January at a time that will least impact our clients and which will allow the company to restructure its business".

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

A couple of interesting points from the NZ liquidation notice (at least to me):

Mossgreen NZ were put into liquidation on FRI 12 JAN 2018. Despite this, the NZ Herald posted a story two days later on SUN 14 Jan 2018 at 10.45 am saying "One of country's most well-known auction houses is being urgently assessed".

Now that's not necessarily inconsistent as the liquidators have said they are trying to find a buyer for Mossgreen-Webb's NZ (good luck with that :!: ) but the report doesn't say the business has been put into liquidation.

If I had to guess I reckon the NZ journo spoke to the administrators in NZ on Friday before the liquidation and they gave their vague "being assessed" response. Then it took 2 days for the report to be written, uploaded onto the NZ Herald's website.

It just goes to show how fast the Mossgreen story is moving and "today's news" is probably already out of date.
Last edited by MJ's pet on 17 Jan 2018 10:40, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

Note that Mossgreen NZ:
Liquidator First Report due 19 Jan 2018
This will probably not tell us anything we don't already know, that the NZ subsidiary is $1 Million in the hole.

But it would be useful if a NZ reader who has access to it can post or summarise the contents of that first report, and later reports. Because the NZ arm is in liquidation the report is not private, secret etc. etc.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

carolynwebb wrote:
Hello. I'm a journalist at The Age newspaper.

Am keen to speak to creditors or anyone else who might have information about the company.

Please email me at carolynwebb [at] fairfaxmedia.com.au or ring 03 8667 2134.

Off the record if you wish.

Thanks. Carolyn Webb.
Carolyn Webb should be congratulated for reaching out to the collecting community and trying to tell the stories of affected collectors. Stamps collectors and journo's are on the same side in this sorry Mossgreen saga.

Most people were probably royally peeved at Paul Sumner's "no vendor will lose money" statement <cof> being reported in the press but it is the ethical obligation of the press to report his side also. No doubt he believed at Christmas that he could refloat the Mossgreen Titanic and sail away.

By the media reporting of that statement, Paul Sumner has painted himself right into a delightful corner.

Vendors that consign $10,000++ of antiques etc. who are caught up in the mess are people of some sophistication and would not be inclined to swallow the Sumner line, hook, line and sinker. I doubt Tom Carter thought "Goody, I'll consign the rest of my collection in 2018".

Caroyln Webb, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, the NZ Herald, Stampboards etc. etc. KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

From the NZ Companies filing:
Directors: Showing 1 of 1 directors
Paul Jeremy SUMNER
1 Enfield Street, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182 , Australia
We know that Paul Sumner is going to put a Deed of Company Arrangement to the administrators, probably around the end of January at a guess. That will be accepted or rejected. How much the offer is, well who knows? We will find out. As Jack Gringlas is owed about half the money ($6 Mill.) one would guess that, for practical purposes, acceptance of the Deed will depend on Gringlas's attitude to it. I kind of doubt that any bank would be running to lend Paul Sumner $5 Mill. plus. If he been able to borrow that kind of money in the first place he wouldn't have had to go to Gringlas cap-in-hand as a "alternate" financier. Which is kind of interesting if you think about it.

A few days ago Glen wrote:
Too often these kind of folks have their real estate and cars and investments and Super etc all owned by blind trusts etc, that cannot be easily touched. I hope not.
I would like Carolyn Webb and others at The Age to ask Paul Sumner + wifey, given his statement that "no vendor will lose money", if they will be selling their $2 Million+ property in St Kilda to tip into the creditor kitty:

https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-house-vic-st+kilda-107630356

1 Enfield Street, St Kilda, Vic 3182

House, Sold on 24 Oct 2011, $2,045,000

4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 4 car parking spaces
Tranquility In St Kilda - The Best Of Both Worlds

Rarely does a home elicit such an emotional response. Irresistible due to its personality, unforgettable because of its proportions, the opportunity to adopt this evocative Victorian's grand spaces is complemented by options to add your own contemporary elements. Set on a remarkable allotment, this home's charming front garden and romantic facade create memorable first impressions with a gracious drawing room and four bedrooms beneath original soaring ceilings. Expansive, equally enticing spaces to the rear include an inviting lounge, light filled kitchen/dining gallery arranged around a private courtyard. Two bathrooms and bright library retreat further illustrate stunning dimensions in a cul-de-sac setting that conveys country calm yet central to all the attractions of St Kilda!
I bet there are creditors eliciting an emotional response of their own right now. :idea:
Last edited by MJ's pet on 17 Jan 2018 11:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by GJ50 »

I received my copy today of " Australian Postal Stationery Collector" and the following article was inside

Image

I doubt now that the van Strokvich family are as pleased as Mr Watson was then.......
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by deebee444 »

GJ50,

I wonder if all of the employees knew of the financial problem?

In the case of Velvet they all knew without warning the "victims".

deebee444
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by mikeg »

Bazza - Thanks for the info from Pickels, etc.

It is still important to see what the actual Mossgreen consignment agreement says, since if the vendor does retain ownership until paid, then any vendor who has not received full payment for his material retains full ownership of all of that material.

Anyone else in possession of his material, even if they have paid the auction house for it, in in possession of stolen material.

At least here, unlike the Velvet case, since art was also involved, there will be vendors who hopefully will not hesitate to act - and anyone here who is owed money or material should follow their lead.

It is as simple as that.

In the art world it is common for original owners to have objects seized in these circumstances, even 30 or 50 years later or even after the work has been donated to a museum.

This is unfortunate for those who have usually bought the works in good faith, but that is the way the law is.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Monogram »

Letter received today.........

TO THE CREDITOR/CONSIGNOR AS ADDRESSED
17 January 2018

Dear Sir/Madam

MOSSGREEN PTY LTD (ADMINISTRATORS APPOINTED)
ACN 163 353 053 (‘the Company’)
UPDATE TO CREDITORS AND CONSIGNORS

We refer to our appointment as Administrators of the Company on 21 December 2017 and our initial circular to creditors dated 22 December 2017.

The purpose of this circular is to provide creditors and consignorswith an update on the progress of the Administration.

Trading of the Business

The Administrators took steps to immediately lock down the business during the period 22 December 2017 to 15 January 2018 in order to allow the Administrators to urgently assess:

 The financial position of the business;
 Ownership of goods held at various Company premises; and
 The position of creditors, vendors and consignors in relation to outstanding amounts owing, unsold goods, goods recently sold at auction and goods on consignment.

Future of the Business

The Director of the Company, indicated that a DOCA proposal would be submitted to the Administrators and was provided a strict timeline to submit the proposal. On 16 January 2018, the Director advised that he was unable to proceed with a DOCA proposal.

In the interim, the Administrators are seeking expressions of interest from external parties for a sale of the business or parts of the business, in order to maximise the return to creditors. The date for submission of initial expressions of interest is 29 January 2018. Details of any proposals received will be detailed in the 439A Report.

All vendors who have consigned goods to the Company for sale will be contacted and arrangements made for the orderly return of their possessions to them. The Administrators acknowledge that these consigned goods are not an asset of the Company and have at all times remained on consignment for sale or return. However, until a full stock take is completed, the goods are unable to be returned to vendors.

Goods Held on Consignment

At the date of our appointment, it is estimated that the Company held in excess of 10,000 items on consignment. These items are held across three premises in Victoria, a site in NSW and a third party warehouse in Victoria.

Based on our investigations to date, these goods can be classified into the following categories:

1. Items sold at auction prior to our appointment and not yet collected by purchasers;
2. Unsold items of recent auctions held on consignment on behalf of vendors;
3. Items held on consignment for future auctions;
4. Items abandoned by purchasers and vendors;
5. Items stored at the Company’s warehouse awaiting collection by vendors; and
6. Artwork consigned to the Company to hang in the gallery.

We understand that a number of purchasers and vendors wish to arrange the collection of items from the Company and the Administrators wish to thank these parties for their patience.

In order to allow for the orderly return of goods to the correct owner, the Administrators are working with their chattel agent and the Company’s employees in order to urgently complete a full stocktake of all items held by the Company.

Given the large quantity of items, we estimate that this process will take one to two weeks to complete.

Following completion of the stocktake, the Administrators will notify vendors of the process to collect items owned by them.

This short delay in allowing vendors to collect items owned by them is necessary to ensure that all claims in respect of the relevant items can be properly assessed and the collection of items conducted in a co-ordinated and efficient manner. Again, we greatly appreciate relevant stakeholders’ continued patience whilst this process is completed.

The Company’s premises remain secured, with security patrols, back to base alarms and CCTV cameras as well as an open cover insurance policy taken out by the Administrators.

Exit of Sydney Premises

The Administrators determined that the Sydney premises was surplus to requirements and immediately took steps to exit the premises to reduce costs in the Administration. All client goods held on site were removed to a third party warehouse to allow for a stocktake and return of items (discussed further below).

The Administrators issued a notice not to exercise property rights to the landlord on 5 January 2018.

Funds Held by the Administrators

At the date of our appointment as Administrators, the Company held c. $1.6m in its bank accounts and a further $1.2m of debtors (i.e. purchasers who purchased goods at auction and not yet paid for the goods).

Whilst the Company did not operate a trust account, we are investigating whether a trust relationship exists between the cash at bank, debtor purchasers and unpaid vendors, and if so, the nature of their entitlements.

Accordingly, the Administrators are taking the following steps to confirm the position:

1. All debtor purchaser payments received after the date of our appointment have been transferred to a separate account, fully accounted for and quarantined; and

2. Seeking advice in respect of, and preparing, an application to Court for directions in relation to the allocation of the available funds, the apportionment of costs and the priority position of the various classes of creditors.

An update of the Court application will be outlined in the Administrators’ report to creditors pursuant to section 439A of the Corporations Act (‘439A Report’).

Minutes of the First Meeting of Creditors

Detailed minutes of the First meeting of creditors have been lodged with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (‘ASIC’). A copy of the minutes will be annexed to the 439A Report. Subject to any extension of the convening period (discussed below), it is envisaged that the 439A Report will be issued on or around 29 January 2018.

Potential Extension of the Convening Period

Due to the complexity of the issues identified in this letter and to allow sufficient time to deal with the return of vendor goods, the Administrators are considering whether it is appropriate to extend the convening period of the Voluntary Administration (i.e. extend the length of time for the second meeting of creditors to be convened). Seeking an extension of the convening period is common in complex administrations of this nature and will only be sought if the Administrators form the view that it is in the creditors’ best interests.

If necessary, the application for an extension will be filed by the Administrators with the Court. Creditors will be notified in due course if the extension is granted. Creditors should contact Daniel Rigg on (02) 9240 9784 or Daniel.Rigg@bdo.com.au, if they have any further questions about the potential extension of the convening period.

Motor Car Trader Guarantee Fund

At the First meeting of creditors, the existence of a Guarantee Fund (‘the Fund’) administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria was briefly discussed.

The purpose of the Fund is to meet the costs of people who have suffered a loss if a motor car trader fails to comply with the Motor Car Traders Act 1986. The Administrators are presently unable to make any comment in relation to any potential breaches of the Act.

We note that the Company held a Motor Car Trader’s Licence (LMCT 11456) at the date of our appointment.

Whilst the Administrators do not provide any guarantee in relation to eligibility of vendors to claim against the Fund, if any vendors have suffered a loss relating to the sale of a motor car by the Company, we recommend that these vendors contact Consumer Affairs Victoria. Further information can be obtained from the following website:
https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/cars/compensation-claims

Should you have any queries in relation to this matter, please contact Daniel Rigg on (02) 9240 9784 or Daniel.Rigg@bdo.com.au, Kani Zhang on (02) 8264 6636 or kani.zhang@bdo.com.au or Ben Gan on (02) 8264 6679 or ben.gan@bdo.com.au.

Yours faithfully

JAMES WHITE
Joint and Several Administrator

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by starling »

This is the most important sentence in the letter from the Liquidators (BDO), DOCA = Deed of Company Arrangement.

The Director of the Company, indicated that a DOCA proposal would be submitted to the Administrators and was provided a strict timeline to submit the proposal. On 16 January 2018, the Director advised that he was unable to proceed with a DOCA proposal.


The Liquidators are still looking for a White Knight to ride into the scene:


In the interim, the Administrators are seeking expressions of interest from external parties for a sale of the business or parts of the business, in order to maximise the return to creditors. The date for submission of initial expressions of interest is 29 January 2018.


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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by starling »

Also, this was interesting from the BDO e-mail. It shows that some industries can do the right thing and put safeguards in place.


At the First meeting of creditors, the existence of a Guarantee Fund (‘the Fund’) administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria was briefly discussed.

The purpose of the Fund is to meet the costs of people who have suffered a loss if a motor car trader fails to comply with the Motor Car Traders Act 1986. The Administrators are presently unable to make any comment in relation to any potential breaches of the Act.

We note that the Company held a Motor Car Trader’s Licence (LMCT 11456) at the date of our appointment.



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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

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Often discussions about Mossgreen turn into a "get Paul Sumner" argument but there are a lot more people involved.

We know that Mossgreen owes Jack Gringlas about $6 Million. What I and am sure hundreds of people would like clarity around, from people in "the know", is:

what was that $6 Million spent on?

I am sure he is talking to the administrators about what his money was spent on, and they are pulling together the detail on this.

We also had reports detailed above of the various creditors and what they were owed. In the stamp area, the Danish Family are owed $225,000, Tom Carter $17,000 etc.

We also know that that Paul Sumner "admitted", "conceded", "said", blah blah blah, that Mossgreen ran into trouble because they "grew too quickly" in a "flat market":
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Sumner said the steps were taken after the withdrawal of its key investor and he admitted the firm had “grown a little bit fast considering that the market plateaued”
This is another way of saying that they purchased too many businesses in an effort to "buy" market share. (Shades of Letraset and Gibbons here, Gibbons buying online outfits etc. etc.).

What is also interesting from the creditors reports (from posts above) that we know about is the ABSENCE of certain names. Why aren't Gary Watson and Charles Leski "named" as being owed for the purchase of their businesses? (They may be owed a little money as employees, but that is a completely different matter). If I had to guess, it may be that a large chunk of the "$6 Million Gringlas Money" was used to buy out:

1. PRESTIGE PHILATELY (Gary Watson)

2. CHARLES LESKI AUCTIONS (Charles Leski)

3. WEBB'S NZ (this probably didn't cost a lot, sounded like a rescue mission more than anything).

4. TORSTEN WELLER (?)

Maybe there is an accountant who can tell us, based on the turnover of Prestige Philately and Leski Auctions, what sort of money would be required to buy those types of businesses?

(Whether Torsten received any money for "coming on board" remains to be seen. It may have been, "work as a paid employee and we'll sell your stock for free" type deal. Mossgreen have been selling his stuff on ebay and through their online auctions in 2017, not very successfully either. And "DB" noted, there is still some of "his" (Torsten's) material on ebay at the moment as we speak. His stuff was generally overpriced to the factor of 10 or 20, so I kind of doubt they paid for his stock upfront. At least I hope not! It also raises an interesting question about whether, legally, Torsten's stuff is owned by him or Mossgreen, and if he can "get it back").

So while some people have posted "I hope the stamp department are OK" <boo hoo> <hand-wringing> etc. etc it seems that the stamp department is the ICEBERG and S.S. MOSSGREEN have hit.

The stamp division has not performed since all of the mergers. Prestige is a shadow of its former self, in terms of number of auctions, name sales, results etc. The stamp division has been swinging in the hammock since all the mergers. Appointing Torsten Weller as DIRECTOR of the stamp division was very strange indeed since he had only run pokey online auctions of his own gear. AND why buy THREE STAMP BUSINESSES when surely one decent one would do? Leski Auctions was a bad buy. Jack Gringlas said he bought Leski Auctions because "it was a good cash business" (his words). Around that time Leski employee Max Williamson said that "stamps are dead". Which is it, stamps are good or stamps are dead?

The viable bit of Leski Auctions seemed to be the sports memorabilia division, but then to rub salt in the wound, Max Williamson up and left and went to Joel's. That was no small matter IMHO. People consign their Don Bradman cricket bats etc because they know Max. So whatever way you want to cut and dice it, Mossgreen buying Leski Auctions has turned into a giant floperoo.

If Gary Watson and Charles Leski come out the other side and "start up" again on their own (and a little birdy whispers that Charles Leski owns the former Leski premises at 13 Cato St), the stamp community is entitled to ask: "what happened to all the money?".

If, for example, Gary Watson has been paid for the Prestige business and he gets the Danish family to consign on the basis of Prestige's very good reputation and track record (I doubt they consigned because they thought Torsten was nice guy etc.), that family is now $225,000 in the hole. This is FACT. Will Gary Watson pay the Danish family $225,000? This would presumably be a drop in the bucket from the Prestige sale proceeds. Who knows, but these sorts of questions should be asked. That would be the ethical thing to do and stamp collectors have long memories.

Now it may be that Watson and Leski "went over" to Mossgreen on the basis that they get paid at some time (years??) in the future and they are victims who are owed millions. But I don't believe that they are that trusting or that stupid. And they aren't in the creditors list as far as we know. If that is the case it is interesting to meditate upon the idea that they may have been paid straight away, but trusting vendors have to wait, 6 months, 9 months + whatever for their money and they still don't get paid.

And this is what Jack Gringlas calls, on 17 September 2017, only 3 months before this sorry debacle:
Like you, I believe the 4 of them represent the "A" Team when it comes to Philatelic Auctions in Australia
http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=78841

If this is the "A Team", I'd hate to know who the "C Team" are.

But this might be putting the cart before the horse and maybe I am being unfair to all involved. Maybe Paul Sumner will borrow $12 MILLION and reach a Deed of Company Arrangement with the Administrators, and Mossgreen will come out of administration, and successfully hold stamp, painting, antique and car auctions worth millions, and everyone will be paid and we will all live happily ever after.

I often wonder given the Velvet debacle, and Danny Jurd is now working at Status International as an employee it has been said, why the collecting community supports Status by shopping there. It is so on the nose it isn't funny.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by GJ50 »

Another famous collection that probably is caught up in the mess.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

Thanks to Starling for posting this very interesting bit of information:
On 16 January 2018, the Director advised that he was unable to proceed with a DOCA proposal
This means "no real Bank will lend me money".

It goes to show how fast the story evolves.

Given the administrators are now seeking "expressions of interest" for a "buyer" of the business, or parts of it, it is an interesting exercise to meditate upon "what is there to sell?":

1. Mossgreen do not own their premises.

The premises was sold around July 2017 for $10 Million to a friendly investor and Mossgreen was up for an astronomical rent:

http://www.afr.com/real-estate/ex-armadale-theatre-building- ... 719-gxeaa9

2. Their auction licences aren't worth a zack.

3. They have no or little stock.

Gringlas/Leski said to Glen above, paraphrasing, "I don't buy stock, I make money as an auctioneer from buyer and seller fees".

(As a posted above, what happens to Torsten Weller's stock?? I have no idea. Further to this it is interesting to ponder that on the Mossgreen website, they still promote "Torsten's stock" as "returning in 2018", next to a picture of Torsten:
Direct Sales
Browse 1000s of Postal History Items for Direct Sale at Torstenweller.com Postal History returning January 2018 and our eBay Items
http://www.mossgreen.com.au/content/stamps-postal-history/

4. The "goodwill" might be saleable. But how much?

There is the business name "Mossgreen" which is probably worth zero. Sounds a bit like Slimegreen. The domain names are probably worth zero. (Remember when Rod Perry tried to sell "RAP.COM.AU" on ebay for half a million dollars. :lol: ). There is also the mailing list would *might* be able to be sold. I say *might* because Mossgreen has been through so many mergers and the mailing list or parts of it could be in so many hands that it might not be saleable. How secure is their IT and IP etc. So the integrity of the mailing list could be a real issue.

There may be an accountant out there who would have an idea of what the goodwill is worth, in the real world.

5. Their assets are probably, as Glen has pointed out, half broken office chairs, computers and office fittings which are probably not worth very much at all.

Although the rooms look quite salubrious, these nice fittings probably belong to the building owner.

Would any existing antique trader or auctioneer really want to take this on? Sotheby's, Christies, Deutscher-Menzies, Joels etc. etc would probably say "Thanks, but no thanks", "I'll keep continuing with what I'm doing".

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

Another famous collection that probably is caught up in the mess
I feel so sorry for MARK DISERIO.

Has anyone totted up the prices realised from his collection? (Minus astronomical seller's fees of course).

SHAME SHAME SHAME

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

'Misleading' doesn't do it justice. So much for my faith in human nature and the unequivocal guarantees repeatedly given by the CEO.

Sad, bad times all round.

Put your stamp business with Tasmanian Stamp Auctions. No buyers' commission either.

Clive
Thanks for this shameless boosterism Clive, but a large part of this sad mess is that Mossgreen do not operate a vendor's Trust Account.

Tasmanian Stamp Auctions have NO TRUST ACCOUNT either.

What happened to Barry Jarrett (remember him? You probably don't), Danny Jurd and Mossgreen could easily happen to any other auctioneer that does not keep trust accounts.

It's pretty simple to understand and keeping a trust account is not hard to do. You just don't mix your vendor's money with your own and spend it.

The only stamp auctioneer that ever kept a Trust Account, so far as I am aware, was CRAIG CHAPPELL in Queensland but that was decades ago. Whether he still runs auctions these days I have no idea. But what I do know is that when Craig sent vendors a timely cheque for their goods it was marked CRAIG CHAPPELL TRUST ACCOUNT.

The laws might have changed in Qld since those days. Whether ROXBURY'S did or do, I don't know.

The laws as to Trust Accounts vary between States. What holds true in one State may not hold true in another. But irrespective of the legal position, not running a Trust Account is unforgivable.

APTA deserve a kick up the arse for letting these cowboys run riot for years.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Global Administrator »

MJ's pet wrote:
So while some people have posted "I hope the stamp department are OK" <boo hoo> <hand-wringing> etc. etc it seems that the stamp department is the ICEBERG and S.S. MOSSGREEN have hit.

The stamp division has not performed since all of the mergers. Prestige is a shadow of its former self, in terms of number of auctions, name sales, results etc.
Well Gary Watson, Torsten Weller and Jack Gringlas are all members here, but clearly right now I am sure, are not making any public comments.

I have no figures in my hands, but my hunch is the stamp section did OK - Remember they made 20%++ buyer fees, then also raped and pillaged on the credit card fees and postage cost (their last box to me was quoted at $270 post!) AND then also charged the vendor 15% plus insurance etc in most cases, as they signed the standard agreement.

They had plenty of name sales and strong results, so you are mistaken.

That is a LOT of money carved from each auction, and most of the stamp area auctions seemed to do pretty well to me.

Gary Watson dropped in here in December for a coffee, as airport security as always, had confiscated his stamp tweezers, and wanted to get a pair from me.

I can honestly say there was no feeling I got of ANY doom on the horizon from talking to him. Torsten phoned me soon after re a pile of literature they had surplus, and asked me to make an offer on it, as they were moving the stamp dept across the road, and did not really want to take them with them, due to lesser space there. He was driving to SYD for Xmas, and could pack in car to save freight costs he offered.

I made a pretty fair offer I thought, very many $100s and he later replied he and Gary decided that they'd hold onto them. Remember Torsten rang ME on these. At the same time I made Torsten an offer for a quantity of heavy things he and Leski owned on same basis, to save freight, and we got within an absolute whisker of each other's price but that was also declined even being so very close, and again we are talking some decent money here.

So even in December there was no sense whatever to me of the roof falling in, or both those offers they'd have ripped my arms off for! And I've been in this game for 40 years and if the world was coming to an end, you get the signals in the trade, and there were none there.

Torsten's website seems to be totally dead today other Mods pointed out to me today, and all the 300+ images he posted here are gone, ruining countless threads here. That breaches a set in cement member rule here never to remove images posted here, and I'll be raising that with him later on today. :roll: :roll: :roll:

http://www.torstenweller.com/remailfriend1.asp?rProductID=STK-00045517

We were invited to a (very poorly attended due to very bad promotion) mossgreen cocktails function at Sydney office in December, and Charles Leski was there, and we had a chat, and got no feeling the world was ending etc.

So, I do not think the stamp section was the loss maker.

The INSANE decision to take on Webbs NZ as I outlined earlier here was Sumner's and cost them millions. Mowbray lost his shirt on them, so Sumner decides he knows better than John. Wrong. The staff roster there was like a few AFL football teams. The Woollahra Sydney office I see above they spend a MILLION dollars updating. Now they have walked away from the lease - a million plus rent lost.

Bringing out Mick Fleetwood for gawdsakes and all the other mad nonsense Sumner got into when he took over fully, might be where many of the big losses came from.

The car auctions as Brad pointed out above, had an ancient Jaguar offered for $8 million or something equally dumb, which did not sell it seems. If they foolishly offered a MINIMUM guarantee to owner to secure the commission sale, they possibly now own that or others etc.

So no, I do not think the stamp division was the cast iron sheet anchor here, and again I do hope the stamp team all come out of it pretty much OK money wise. Nick and Gary and Torsten etc do not deserve to be victims.

Glen
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

MJ's pet wrote:
'Misleading' doesn't do it justice. So much for my faith in human nature and the unequivocal guarantees repeatedly given by the CEO.

Sad, bad times all round.

Put your stamp business with Tasmanian Stamp Auctions. No buyers' commission either.

Clive
Thanks for this shameless boosterism Clive, but a large part of this sad mess is that Mossgreen do not operate a vendor's Trust Account.

Tasmanian Stamp Auctions have NO TRUST ACCOUNT either.

What happened to Barry Jarrett (remember him? You probably don't), Danny Jurd and Mossgreen could easily happen to any other auctioneer that does not keep trust accounts.

It's pretty simple to understand and keeping a trust account is not hard to do. You just don't mix your vendor's money with your own and spend it.

The only stamp auctioneer that ever kept a Trust Account, so far as I am aware, was CRAIG CHAPPELL in Queensland but that was decades ago. Whether he still runs auctions these days I have no idea. But what I do know is that when Craig sent vendors a timely cheque for their goods it was marked CRAIG CHAPPELL TRUST ACCOUNT.

The laws might have changed in Qld since those days. Whether ROXBURY'S did or do, I don't know.

The laws as to Trust Accounts vary between States. What holds true in one State may not hold true in another. But irrespective of the legal position, not running a Trust Account is unforgivable.

APTA deserve a kick up the arse for letting these cowboys run riot for years.
Craig stopped his auctions a couple of years ago but still has his shop at the same Clayfield location.
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

Another famous collection that probably is caught up in the mess.
The MARK DISERIO collection of Australian Registrations Envelopes was sold by Mossgreen on 3 OCTOBER 2017.

I wonder on what date Paul Sumner received the accountant's report that in the attempts to find a new investor had failed and in absence of funding, Mossgreen could be insolvent?

Anyhoo, the Regn Envelopes seem to occupy Lots 209 to 283 in the catalogue. There may be other DISERIO lots in other places in the catalogue to be added to the tally, I don't know.

The prices realised for the MARK DISERIO section totals:

$49,356


The Prices Realised for the sale are here:

http://www.mossgreen.com.au/m/view-auctions/print-realized-prices/id/420

These prices are "inclusive of Buyer's Premium" (why is a fee as "Premium" :o ) so this total includes both the BUYERS AND SELLER'S FEES.

Who knows how much this will carve from DISERIO'S result, but it will be AT LEAST 40%, all up, probably more.

So all up, MARK DISERIO is probably in the hole $30,000.

And this could have been avoided if they bothered to keep a Trust Account.

Whether Mark Diserio was at the FIRST CREDITORS MEETING and added his collection to the UNPAID pile, I don't know. Maybe he can tell us. No doubt it has been added since. I wonder what, if any, private soothing assurances were given to Mark by Mossgreen that "everything was OK", and by whom?

Thanks to THE MOSSGREEN MUPPETS.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

I have no figures in my hands, but my hunch is the stamp section did OK
We can all have our own views, but hunches don't really shed any light on the matter.

If someone here when through the exercise of tallying up PRESTIGE's and LESKI's full year auction realisations PRE-MERGER, and then compared to the last MOSSGREEN STAMPS DIVISION results for a full year, I am sure the latter would come up short by a long way.

MOSSGREEN post-merger have not secured the name sales that Prestige had for years pre-merger. In the pre-merger days Prestige were running 10 stamp auctions per year.

Leski probably ran about 6. Sumner et al were crowing that this boosted their "turnover". MOSSGREEN have not come close.

I see from their 2017 summary that Mossgreen held only 6 full auctions IN THE ROOM (plus some anaemic "online" auctions of mainly Torsten guff which do not count):

http://www.mossgreen.com.au/content/past-auctions/

The relevance of this is, is that Jack Gringlas et al were counting on that amount of money rolling in. And it didn't. I bet if you were to ask Jack Gringlas in his private moments, he would say he overpaid.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that Mossgreen buying Webb's was insane. But that was only one acquisition of many. And it isn't clear from the information in the public domain how much they spent buying Webb's. My guess is that it was not much. Webb's was on the ropes when Sumner picked it up AFAIK.

I also agree with you that Mossgreen seemed crazily overstaffed. But I don't think the $6 Million Gringlas Money was spent on wages either, so that doesn't compute.

Paul Sumner didn't call in the administrators because he had too many staff. He called them in because he couldn't pay Gringlas.

There are lots of factors which have led to this mess but I for one would not be giving the Mossgreen stamp division the all-clear.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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MJ's pet wrote:
The MARK DISERIO collection of Australian Registrations Envelopes was sold by Mossgreen on 3 OCTOBER 2017.
My first thought here as that a sale in early OCTOBER would surely have been paid out already, but maybe not? But if he was not on the Creditor list maybe he WAS paid? That seems entirely logical.

We DO know for sure, from the Administrators report, this $1.75 MILLION from early October is still not paid -

How can vendors sit around for 4 or 5 months and not want to see the money? Especially this total. :?: :?:
mossgreen Administrator wrote:
The biggest unsecured creditor stemmed from the auction of a book collection.

Some $1.75 million is owed to the family of the late wealthy insurance underwriter Martin Copley who auctioned off the books in October.

The British-born Copley, but Perth-based businessman, remembered for founding the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), died in 2014.

His auction items included John Gould's monumental The Birds of Australia, a large folio in eight volumes with 681 hand-coloured lithographed plates, bound in dark green morocco by Riviere, an original subscriber's set, which sold at $446,400 including premium.

Martin's daughter, Sophie Chamberlain sits on the board of AWC.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by MJ's pet »

That is a good point about the Jag that didn't sell. That car can't be overlooked.
The car auctions as Brad pointed out above, had an ancient Jaguar offered for $8 million or something equally dumb, which did not sell it seems. If they foolishly offered a MINIMUM guarantee to owner to secure the commission sale
But where is the "MINIMUM GUARANTEE" in the creditor info? Where is the Jag that they now known?

That is probably what tipped Mossgreen over the edge, but it is not what caused their problems - (buying too many businesses and expanding) - in the first place.

As Warren Buffet says:
Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming in the nuddy

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Global Administrator »

MJ's pet wrote:
I see from their 2017 summary that Mossgreen held only 6 full auctions IN THE ROOM (plus some anaemic "online" auctions of mainly Torsten guff which do not count):

http://www.mossgreen.com.au/content/past-auctions/
Don't give up your day job to become an accountant. :lol:

I count 14 stamp/coin/postcard auctions in 2017. You see six.

Remember Nick Anning was part of the stamp and coin division, and that side was doing pretty well. He worked with Gary at Prestige for years and when I visited their operation was based in the same area.
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

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The MARK DISERIO collection of Australian Registrations Envelopes was sold by Mossgreen on 3 OCTOBER 2017.

My first thought here as that a sale in early OCTOBER would surely have been paid out already, but maybe not. But if he was not on the Creditor list maybe he WAS paid?

From the Administrators report $1.75 MILLION from early October is still not paid
A good point. Isn't 30 days standard for paying vendors?

Does anyone have a copy of the standard Mossgreen consignment terms, which seem to be mysteriously hard to find? Please post a copy if you do. (Black out your name). The terms are hardly a state secret.

Even if their standard terms were payment in 60 days, then Mark Diserio should have been paid by 7 December 2017, which was still weeks before the administration on 21 December?

Why didn't the stamp department pay Mark in a timely manner? Were they told to go slow? If so, by whom? And when?

If no such advice was given, then why didn't the stamp department pay Mark promptly?

These are all questions that need to be asked.

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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by GJ50 »

Global Administrator wrote:The MARK DISERIO collection of Australian Registrations Envelopes was sold by Mossgreen on 3 OCTOBER 2017.

My first thought here as that a sale in early OCTOBER would surely have been paid out already, but maybe not. But if he was not on the Creditor list maybe he WAS paid?
Glen,

The Frommer auction was in April 2017. Still owed $17000.

Sounds like they have been in difficulties for quite a while, but keeping all in the dark.
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Clive »

Thanks for this shameless boosterism Clive, but a large part of this sad mess is that Mossgreen do not operate a vendor's Trust Account.

Tasmanian Stamp Auctions have NO TRUST ACCOUNT either.

What happened to Barry Jarrett (remember him? You probably don't), Danny Jurd and Mossgreen could easily happen to any other auctioneer that does not keep trust accounts.

It's pretty simple to understand and keeping a trust account is not hard to do. You just don't mix your vendor's money with your own and spend it.
Mj's pet,

Yes, I do in fact recall Barry Jarrett's chequered career with Status and his subsequent 'disappearance'. I've long since lost track - has he been sighted back in Oz?

Thanks for the info about not mixing vendors' money with your own but I had sort of worked that out some time ago. About fifty years ago, actually. I've dealt with and been responsible for administering more trust accounts than most members here.

And as for 'boosterism' (what an ugly word, did you coin it or just appropriate it) are we now into 'if you can't say something bad about someone don't say anything at all'? :o

Clive
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Re: Mossgreen Auctions - APPOINTMENT & 1st MEETING OF CREDI

Post by Global Administrator »

MJ's pet wrote:That is a good point about the Jag that didn't sell. That car can't be overlooked.
The car auctions as Brad pointed out above, had an ancient Jaguar offered for $8 million or something equally dumb, which did not sell it seems. If they foolishly offered a MINIMUM guarantee to owner to secure the commission sale
But where is the "MINIMUM GUARANTEE" in the creditor info? Where is the Jag that they now own?

That is probably what tipped Mossgreen over the edge, but it is not what caused their problems - (buying too many businesses and expanding) - in the first place.
I am not in the car game and have no idea what happened to this Jag.

Sumner was trumpeting it before the sale at $A8m (plus fees!) -

http://www.afr.com/news/is-this-classic-car-worth-8-million-20171003-gytf15

And it appears not to have sold. We have no idea if a guarantee was given or not - it is just an example of the HIGH risk things Sumner took on.

Prior to that auction NO motor vehicle of ANY kind had reached even $A1 million at auction, so why anyone here thought a heavily raced Jag was an $A8 million gem locally I have no idea.

Before Saturday’s mossgreen Motorclassica auction, a $920,000 Holden Monaro HRT 427 set the record for the most valuable car sold in Australia.

http://www.caradvice.com.au/591822/jaguar-d-type-to-become-a ... a-auction/
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