Joseph Maddalena named executive VP at Heritage Auctions

Joseph Maddalena. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

DALLAS – Heritage Auctions announced Wednesday that Profiles in History founder Joseph Maddalena is joining the company as executive vice president. Maddalena, who over 35 years built Profiles in History into a leading auction house of Hollywood memorabilia and popular culture’s most coveted keepsakes, joined Heritage on Feb. 1.

“This is one of the most significant moves Heritage has made in the last 40 years,” says Steve Ivy, Heritage Auctions’ co-chairman and CEO. “We’re incredibly excited Joe is joining Heritage. Joe will be based at Heritage world headquarters in Dallas, but will maintain an active presence in California. We have known and admired him for more than 30 years and have the utmost respect for his expertise and the business he has built.”

Since its inception in 1985, Profiles in History has brought countless iconic items to market, from Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber to Dorothy’s ruby slippers to Indiana Jones’ whip to Peter Fonda’s Easy Rider chopper. The auction house holds numerous Guinness World Records and has hosted some of the most famous sales in Hollywood, including the 2011 Debbie Reynolds auction that made international headlines when Marilyn Monroe’s Seven Year Itch “subway dress” realized $5.52 million. Maddalena also headed three seasons as the star of the Syfy Channel’s hit TV series, Hollywood Treasure, which is available on-demand and has been seen by more than 2.5 million viewers.

Maddalena, a collector since childhood born into a family of antique dealers in Rhode Island, says the decision to join Heritage was an easy one, in large part because of his longtime friendships with Heritage’s co-founders and co-chairmen, Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin. They were rivals, yes – “fierce competitors,” Halperin says, “but foremost, Joe was an ethical competitor. And so, we were rivals who became friends.”

Adds Halperin, Maddalena brings to Heritage “deep and long-lasting relationships with major collectors in myriad fields,” as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of multiple categories that transcend Hollywood and entertainment memorabilia.

“But more than anything, he brings with him an infectious enthusiasm, and he’s quite simply a warm, empathetic, and genuinely nice person,” Halperin says.

Maddalena cites Heritage Auctions’ collector-focused auction experience, as well as its offices across the United States and around the world, as reasons for the move. He says he is also eager to expand his purview beyond the confines of Hollywood, citing his passion for nature and science, rare books, wine and numerous other categories among the more than 40 at Heritage Auctions.

“Heritage is at the cutting edge of collecting, bringing in video games and Pokémon, for instance, which I have been championing for years,” Maddalena says. “This is such my passion, and that’s the biggest thing for me. This is giving me the opportunity to do what I’ve done for 35 years at a juggernaut like Heritage.”

More than anything, Maddalena says, he is eager to get out from behind the desk and again work with clients full-time – to get out “on the front lines,” he says.

“Joining Heritage has re-inspired me,” Maddalena says. “I already know a lot of the people here. I competed against them for years. It’s just so humbling how welcoming and supportive they have been. I am so blessed.”

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