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 people are finding that expert advice online.
At my office, we have seen an increase in clients who use 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 reveal 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 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 online in real time and bids coming in from all parts of the world from mobile devices. Auctions have seen a major change as absentee bidding is on the rise. This style of shopping has become more popular and easier to do with the aid of technology.
From 2000 to 2010, most auction bidders were on-site at the auction house 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 internet savvy. While some local estate auctions have jumped onto the Internet bandwagon and market their auctions online and accept 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 a Web presence to attract more buyers to their auction.
Today, phone and Internet bidders comprise approximately 50 percent of auction buyers. Auction houses now advertise their auctions online, and they accept more international bids from online shoppers. 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.