Cumbria and the Ribble Valley are just two places where the internet has proven invaluable to the antiques trade, whether buying or selling. Even if you live in a city like Preston, antique oak pedestal desks are a lot easier to buy if you can first see them online.
Unfortunately, modern technology has enabled a few rogues to get in on the act – doing via the internet what Lovejoy first did on TV in the 1970s. An American blogger reporting on a US antiques site has told of the crafty lengths antique buyers – many of them dealers – will go to, in order to get bidding down to the level they can afford. For example, one potential buyer emailed other bidders as if he was in the auction room, telling them a particular piece was badly damaged and not to bother bidding. It was, of course, perfect.
While the internet has made it easier to bid (especially if you’re in Cumbria and the antique oak partners desk you want is in Cornwall) it also means lots more people can bid for the same item – including those visiting the sale room in person. Even then, however, you’re not safe. The same US blogger tells of how he espied a valuable painting in a box of junk – only to see a rival dealer craftily remove it from its frame, concealing it in the next lot along! This way he wouldn’t be accused of theft, but could place minimum bids on both boxes, leaving with a bargain. Luckily, he was rumbled.
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