Friday, August 17, 2007

Markets Are "A- Changin" - Antiques, Collectibles and paintings

I remember certain things from when I was a young boy in the South.

Whenever the local men would get together, they would always say "the market, its a-changin". Of course they were talking about the tobacco market in those days. But you could feel the change in the air.

I sense that same change in the wind for our markets today. The market will always correct any swing if it is too far in any direction. And I think that we have gone too far in expecting people to buy our things just because we have them for sale. Also, many auction houses seem to think that the market will accept any commission that they want to charge the buyers and sellers. I think that the markets are "a-changin" and the customer is getting more selective. That is why things are sitting in the malls longer. The auction houses are getting fewer good pieces to sell so they are increasing their commission to make up for the drop in quality. Both of these decisions are fatal in today's market.

Gary Hendrickson, of the Auction Rebel, might have put it best in his blog.

"Once a flea market falls into a “the only way to increase the bottom line is to increase vendors” mentality and starts adding as many new tool guys as possible they are in trouble. Attendance begins to fall. Since many of them charge for admittance, revenues start going down and, in an attempt to bring revenue back up they start selling space to the t-shirt/sunglasses guys and look the other way regarding whether their presence adds to, or detracts, from the value of the market.

Once the t-shirt/sunglasses guys show up, the market starts to die. It may take two or three years before it no longer exists. Some may hang on for a few years more, but it’s an irreversible death spiral. The few that do survive long-term do so by surviving on greatly reduced revenues consisting of vendor fees from a t-shirt/sunglass guys and a few low quality antique and used tool guys who can’t afford to pay for the gas to go anywhere else along with the attendance fees they charge the browsers who stumble upon the flea market and decide to take a look. The serious buyers are long since gone.

In reality, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, eBay is nothing more than one large flea market and they face the same problems and challenges that a growing flea market does."

You can find Garys blog at and I think you will find his insight quite refreshing.

As I have stated before in my book, lets try to increase the value of what we do to the customer and he will reward us by being a continuing customer. Value will always last but some of the time we have to be patient to find the value. I would like to hear from you on what you think the state of the market is?

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