Technology has helped many people get the information they need in short order. When it comes to learning the value of antiques and obtaining appraisals, more and more people are finding that expert advice by searching online.
At my office, we have seen a significant increase in clients who are using our mobile app to send me a picture of an object they want to bid on during an auction, buy at a yard sale or quickly get appraised so they can negotiate with an antiques dealer. Online appraisals and the ability to provide quick answers to questions reveals that even when it comes to old objects, technology is king.
Technology has changed the face of auctions, too. If you have ever attended a traditional auction, you basically know how it works. You preview the objects that will be put up for sale prior to the actual auction, register with the auction house in order to place a bid and take part in the action. As the bidder, you may use a paddle, numbered card or hand gesture to place a bid once the auction begins. That’s the 20th century version of an auction.
The 21st century version is far different. Technology has changed the face of buying and selling old stuff, and it has transformed the traditional auction experience. Most auctions have moved into the technological age with auctions taking place in real time online and bids coming in from all parts of the world from mobile devices. Auctions have seen a major change because absentee bidding is on the rise. This style of shopping has become more and more popular and easier to do with the aide of technology.
From 2000 to 2010, most auction bidders were physically on-site at the auction house in order to compete for a particular piece in the auction house’s inventory at a particular auction. Bidders participating in famous Old Master painting auctions and modern and contemporary art auctions have become more and more Internet savvy. While some local estate auctions have jumped onto the Internet bandwagon and marketed their auctions online and accepted bids via computer, other small scale auction houses have been slow to embrace the global market of potential buyers accessible through the Internet. Now, sellers working with auction houses to liquidate the contents of Grandma’s house are demanding that there is an web presence to attract more buyers to their auction.
Today, phone and Internet bidders comprised approximately 50 percent of auction buyers. Auction bays are, according to many auction house reports, not full of people as they once were. Auction houses are advertising their auctions online and via social media. They are accepting more international bids from interested shoppers using click thru bids on computers, tablets, laptops, cell phones, mobile devices, etc. Today, auction houses are adding phone lines, speedy communication cables and wireless routers in order to accept the increased number of absentee bids at each auction.
(Dr. Lori hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide and is the star appraiser on Discovery channel’s TV show, Auction Kings. Visit www.DrLoriV.com/Events, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori, or call 888-431-1010.)

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