Online auctions are great places to acquire collectibles, and sites like eBay may sell you some beautiful items at really inexpensive costs. There are techniques to take advantage of online antique auctions, such as using sniping software and seeking for precious items that will undoubtedly sell for much less than their true value, but you have to be aware of them in order to make use of them.
First, let's define the term "vintage." Antique and vintage are frequently confused, although they are actually very different. It should be obvious what the word means if I tell you that it was taken from the wine business. A vintage collectable was created during a specific time period, although it may not be old enough to be considered an antique, just like a vintage wine is one made from grapes harvested in specific years, or specific times within a year.
An art deco item from the 1950s, for instance, is just about 60 years old, whereas one from the 1960s would have been created. Victorian or even Edwardian era items would qualify as authentic antiques because they are at least 100 years old. In general, an antique has to be at least 100 years old, while other people define it more broadly. However, if you try to sell any antique furniture that is more recent than the late Edwardian, you can run into difficulty.
Ask if unsure.
When purchasing collectibles at a vintage auction, it's important to inspect the item and confirm its period-specific authenticity. Ask the dealer if you are dubious of the vintage of a "vintage poster." What vintage is your Sophia Loren poster? can be asked by clicking on a link to the vendor's email address on an online auction site.
A Marilyn Monroe poster from the late 1950s will be worth more money than a Brook Shields poster from any year because vintage matters with collectibles just like it does with wines! When purchasing antiques online, it's important to keep in mind that even antiques might have a certain vintage.
Furniture sold at vintage auctions that also sell antiquities may be described as "of Thomas Sheraton vintage." This does not imply that it is a Sheraton piece; rather, it just indicates that Sheraton existed during the time that the item was produced in the seller's great, great, great grandfather's shed in 1790. Yes, it is an antique because it is older than 100 years, and yes, it is from the Sheraton era, but is it worth anything? Probably simply sentimental value—which has nothing to do with money!
As a result, even though it might be misleading, the word occasionally provides useful information. You may, however, be as certain as possible that the seller is not attempting to mislead you on eBay, Cowan Alexander, Amazon, Copart, or any other online auction site because online auctions frequently demand accuracy in a description.
Every vintage auction site operates in a different way, but they all have one thing in common: in most cases, you won't be deceived about what constitutes "old," but if you are, they should be able to protect you. Look for it, and if you can't find it, ask the question via email. However, you should never buy anything from an online antique auction if you have no other kind of payment protection.
Through PayPal, you are secured with eBay, and Amazon has its own protections for you. Both are quite good at giving you returns if the item is not what was advertised. However, in most cases, the description of the item being offered will be adequate to allow you to determine its provenance. If you are unsure, as said before, email the seller and save their response in case you need it later.
The Last Word
Always stay within your established price range when bidding at auctions since several bidders driving up the price of an item might have the reverse effect of what you were hoping for. Additionally, be careful to verify the delivery or postal cost if you want to purchase items from online vintage auctions.
There is no cap on how much the vendor can charge for "postage and packaging," and it may exceed the cost of the item. I recently observed a wooden box containing a set of silverware being sold on an internet auction site for $1.99. A fantastic offer, however, as usual, I double-checked the delivery cost: $65!
Even if it wasn't the $1.99 that most people would expect to be spending, the cutlery was still quite affordable at $66.99. Therefore, use caution and keep an eye out to get the most out of online antique auctions and discover real bargains at fair prices.