July 18th, 2013
I had a nice talk with antiques and collectibles veteran Harry Rinker yesterday. Harry is 72 and lives in Michigan. He has been in the business 35 years. He is still having fun because of the changes in the industry thanks to the Internet. Here are some takeaways:
1. eBay has moved away from auctions, unfortunately, which has taken much of the fun out of shopping for antiques and collectibles online. But be careful with the Buy It Now prices. They are hardly accurate. They vary widely and you have to scroll extensively to find bargains.
2. Marketplaces like GoAntiques, TIAS.com, and Ruby Lane are doing well and have taken much of the business that eBay gave up when it abandoned the collectibles field.
3. Only a quarter to a third of antiques and collectibles sold online go to collectors. Most buy for decorative purposes. Many repurpose items and re-use them in their households.
I felt an affinity with Harry because he is making a living as a freeance writer thanks to the Internet. Our words don’t appear in print (for the most part) and it’s OK. “It’s a damn fine time to be around this business,” he said.