Sunday, July 7, 2013

Internet auction for artworks: potential and risk

The market of the internet auction sites for selling artworks seems to be growing.

BBC culture: Buying art online: A click away from a masterpiece?

Internet auction is very popular now also in Japan. I often use Yahoo! Auction powered by Yahoo! Japan to get some rare items such as old game books as I mentioned.

Internet auction has a clear advantage, compared to the real auction, for buyers. We need not go to the gallery to bid. It is the only, but an absolute merit.
For sellers, they have a chance to find multiple candidates to bid for the product. It raises potential profit. For buyers it is disadvantageous, but it is acceptable as compensation of the merit to find the product easily we love.

Internet auction has widened the potential market greatly. Extremely niche items can be for sale. Therefore, I think that the internet auction is suitable especially for the goods whose market is not established.

So, I was surprised to this article. Artworks have traditional market highly sophisticated. I guess that both dealers and buyers are almost fixed. There must be no rooms for the internet auction in this region, isn’t it?
It is also surprising that some auction sites deal with extremely large amount of money. The average of bidding may be reached to $30,000. Such a big deal has to be accompanied with great trust. You would not like to buy an artwork for $30,000 from an anonymous seller.

Probability of imitation is also problematic. Even professional dealers with strict investigation can be deceived. I am doubtful that the buyers can identify the product exactly via web camera.

According to this article, the scheme of the internet auction for artworks seems not to have been established yet. Trial and error are needed for a while. It is certain that some investors have their eyes on this kind of business. I will never entry into the market but have a little curiosity.

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