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Buying real antiques through online live auctions

Buying Real Antiques Through Online Live Auctions

First time antique buyers may have worries, especially if they are trying to find good deals through Internet live auctions. There are a couple of things you can do to keep your online antiquing stress free.

Did Marilyn Monroe Really Wear That Dress?

When it comes to memorabilia and antiques, unsavory sellers often make claims that are difficult, if not impossible, to verify. For example, sellers on some auction sites seem to have no end to the amount of clothing worn by our favorite celebrities.

Unless the seller can provide specific documentation, or provenance, that the clothing belonged to someone famous, a dress from the 1950s is nothing more than a dress from the 1950s.

The best way to avoid this trap is to work with a live auction site that represents real antique houses. Items are sold as is, without embellishment. You are bidding on what you see. If you don’t see incontrovertible proof that Marilyn Monroe wore the dress then she probably didn’t.

Getting it Home

If you win an Internet live auction, chances are you will have choices on how to get the item into your living room. Online live auction sites make sure that sellers list their shipping terms before the auction begins. Sometimes the buyer will have to pick up the item in person, but it is also possible that it may be shipped.

Individual sellers are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to shipping antiques as most just don’t have the experience of live auction houses. A colleague made the mistake of placing a bid online through a standard auction site (a chest of drawers with a mirror on top) and the seller decided to ship it by using a bus line.

The mirror arrived cracked and when she tried to submit a claim to the bus line, she discovered that mirrors were not covered in their insurance policy. She should have known better not to trust that something so fragile and expensive would arrive unscathed.

If she had purchased it through an online auction, she would have been able to pick it up in person. It probably would have been cheaper too.

Real Live Auctions with Real Reputations

Auctions houses, unlike individual sellers on regular auction sites, are held to high standards. If they develop a reputation of unethical dealings, they will lose customers and perhaps their business.

Live auction houses are staffed with professionals who will be able to answer your questions. They have hours of operation and phone numbers so it is easy to contact them. In addition, live auction web services have tech support to help you work out any computer glitches.

Be Your Own Expert

In the meantime, you must also take responsibility for your bids. Libraries and bookstores are a good place to start your research on your new hobby. Before you put a bid on something you find in an online auction catalog, make sure you know what it is – what distinguishes it from a knock-off and how much previous pieces have gone for.

It is also advisable to check out the history of the Internet auction house you are going through. How long have they had their business? Are there any reviews online about that company? Where is the actual auction site located? What are their insurance and bidding policies like on their merchandise? All of these are important questions to get answers on before you shell out your hard earned cash.

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