Online Sales Can Help Auctions Reach Their Full Potential

By Altdorfer, John | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 25, 2007 | Go to article overview

Online Sales Can Help Auctions Reach Their Full Potential


Altdorfer, John, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


You'll need more than Rudolph's red nose to find a local auction this week. Most of the area's houses are quiet for the holidays -- aside from J.S. Dill ringing in 2008 with its annual New Year's Day bash.

Instead of the usual roundup of sales, we'll take a look at how the Internet is changing the way area auctioneers do business.

Just about everyone is tangled in the World Wide Web. According to Internet World Stats -- an online Web usage research group -- more than 211 million Americans log online to download music, e- mail friends, buy gifts, work from home and, yes, search for auction sites. It's no wonder, then, that most area, national and international auction houses are leaving a footprint or two on the Internet for potential bidders to follow.

Locally, the gamut ranges from straightforward photographs of sales items to fully integrated, live-time online sales and bidding. Most houses operate a dedicated site devoted strictly to their services. Along with their own sites, many auctioneers also list goods on a service called Auctionzip.com, a search engine that allows users to look for specific items within a certain driving distance from their homes. Whatever their presence on the Web, all local auctioneers agree that the reason is the same -- to fetch the highest possible hammer prices for their clients.

"The Internet creates a bigger playing field for our consignors," says David Arnold, consignment manager of in Point Breeze. "It evens out the spottiness of local bidding. Without Internet exposure, many items would sell for practically nothing if the bidding was limited to local buyers. The Internet brings people from all over the world into play, and that helps brings better prices for our customers."

A couple miles away in Regent Square, Concept Art Gallery owner Sam Berkovitz adds an exclamation point to Arnold's sentiments.

"The Internet and online bidding definitely helps the seller," says Berkovitz, who's been conducting online sales since 2001. "We recently had a painting from a Puerto Rican artist I knew little about. So I had no idea how much the work might sell for. But because people could search online for paintings by this artist, we had five or six Internet bidders and the work sold for somewhere between $7,000 to $8,000 because the artist was a significant Puerto Rican modernist. Ten years ago, the same painting probably would have sold for far less than its worth."

While Concept and Dargate accept in-house and online bids for all auctions, other local companies open bidding to online buyers based on sale's potential widespread appeal.

"We do open some sales to Internet bidding," says Tripp Kline, owner of Three Rivers Auction Co., in Washington, Pa. "But it comes down to whether the merchandise in that sale can reach its full and fair market value in Western Pennsylvania. For instance, if I have a sale with a nice selection of locally made crocks and other stoneware, I wouldn't put that online because I know that this is where the collectors are. But if there was one extremely rare piece involved, that might be a reason to go online -- if I thought that the Internet audience would bring a higher final price."

Nearly every local auctioneer agrees that fine art, especially contemporary paintings, are one reason to open a sale beyond the gallery floor.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Online Sales Can Help Auctions Reach Their Full Potential
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.