For collectors, this was very true. People started creating niche forums related to a specific area of collecting. Soon collectors were swapping online, and then we saw the birth of online auction sites like eBay. Soon the big auction houses and estate planning companies were online not only informing the public of upcoming sales, but also establishing themselves as valuable resources of information. For the first time, people had instant access to experts, historical records, and others who could help them identify an antique, or find collectibles to add to their collection.
The Internet also made many collectors well off or in some cases rich, but at the very least created a new way for people to easily supplement their income. Today casual collectors are making up to $20,000 per year buying antiques and reselling them in their spare time, and full-time antique dealers are reporting profits up to six figures, all from selling antiques, collectibles, and vintage pieces on the Internet.
Remember how people used to buy and sell antiques before the Internet? Mail order collectors clubs, expos, trade shows, auctions, garage sales, and flea markets were the very time consuming ways people had to find items to buy and sell. Unfortunately, flea markets, auctions, and garage sales were usually held on weekends, which created schedule conflicts and limited the number of events one person could attend. Auctions and previews could take up an entire weekend, and chances are you would walk away an unlucky bidder. Today, people who buy for personal collections can simply review and bid on items instantly from the comfort of their own homes.
In the early 1990s, it was pretty rare for a person in the United States to bid on items in an estate sale held at someone's residence in Australia, but today it occurs all the time. People all around the world are selling and buying antiques online for their collections, home décor, or for resale. The positive economic impact of this antique revolution extends to the transportation industry, import, and exporting. It has literally made companies like PayPal.
Of course people are still going to offline auctions, flea markets, estate sales, and so forth. They will continue to do so as long as they exist. The most faithful attendees are dealers who buy offline and sell online. The Internet has opened up the antique industry for anyone to become an antique broker and for phenomenal profits to be made, while also providing the buyer with lower prices.
Prior to the Internet turning the collectible world upside down, 90% of auction items were purchased by dealers, marked up, and resold in stores. Today, 100% of Internet users can bid on items right alongside those same dealers knowing there are platforms like eBay, where they can resell the goods and make a profit without the overhead of offline antique stores. In fact, the Internet has made thousands of successful and wealthy new dealers. The great thing about the ever changing world of antiques and the Internet is that as long as they both exist, it will never be too late to start your own business and enjoy the profits.
Part of the antique buying and selling process involves research doing your homework, knowing how much something is worth, and where it originated. With the Internet, you can type in a few words, a city, or a name to come up with information on your collectible. 10 years ago, researching an item involved days if not months at the library, or buying expensive auction house catalogs to research past sale items. Today many of those catalogs are available online. You can type in a couple of keywords and find out how much an item is selling for right now.
Antiquing is like trading stocks with all the thrills, fluctuating prices, emotional highs and lows and excitement, which is why more and more people join the ride each day. Not only is antiquing a passion you can share with your family, but it is also a way of preserving history. This is an ever changing, fascinating business that is fun and financially rewarding.