For a technological innovation that seems incongruous to the antiques trade, the internet is fast becoming the preferred method of buying and selling antiques. Whether it is bidding through ongoing virtual auction websites like eBay, or through the virtual auction room while a particular auction is actually taking place, small, large and fragile examples of antique furniture, jewellery, glass and ceramics are now constantly going under the virtual hammer.
Now many regional antique dealers and auctioneers are also coming to terms with the potentials of a more national and global marketplace where people cannot afford to take time out from work to visit antiques emporiums and auction houses. It is also the general public and not just select individuals who are now beginning to realise the investment potential in buying antiques and then waiting a few years for the prices to rise.
Therefore to enter fully into this virtual world of selling antiques, a carefully designed interactive website is now a must. This could contain links to antique and collectables journals, information on what is selling well in the antiques world at that moment; listings of forthcoming auctions and events; glorious colour examples of wonderful walnut and mahogany furniture and other antiques for sale, perhaps even virtual tours through shops and auction houses where the viewer can home in on particular pieces. The site could also provide tips on caring for items, gift sections split into categories and price bands, plus facilities for gift wrapping and forwarding to a friend. All this can become very much part of present day virtual antiquing.
As for the future, perhaps gone are the days of standing for hours on end in a draughty saleroom waiting for your lot number to come up. Now you are able to sit at your computer, link in to the virtual auction site, catch the auctioneer’s virtual eye and place your virtual bid.
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