How the Antiques & Collectibles Industry has Changed in the Digital Age


CommPRO Editorial Staff

In an uncertain world changing beyond all recognition the way we shop for and collect antiques has changed. Even before the current pandemic which has caused many shops to close the internet had changed how we do things. What changes are now happening in the antiques and collectibles industry because of this, and how is the industry adapting? 

Disposable Culture?

Going forward are we going to see the same number of antiques as we do in today’s market? It’s always difficult to predict what items will be looked back upon with fondness and become valuable. The trend towards a throwaway culture may impact the number of valuable items in the future. Take technology as an example, vintage telephones from the 20th century can fetch quite a premium, if they are the right models. This is seemingly true of certain modern phones as well, take the first iPhone for example, there are instances of this selling for thousands of dollars.

Change in Values

Has the value of antiques changed due to the existence of the internet? The answer to this question depends on how you look at it. Values have somewhat stabilized as it is easier to look up reference prices for common items. Negatively online auctions can also hike the price as it allows more buyers to compete for the same items.

Coin Collecting

We can access items from all over the world, as we just mentioned. If we take coin collecting as an example, we can see how rare and commemorative coins can be found. Take a company like Gainesville Coins who sells coins old and new from everywhere in the world.

How Old is Antique Anyway?

There is a consensus in the industry that an item cannot be considered antique unless it is at least one hundred years old. Although there is some debate around this there are enough instances of the one hundred figure to give it some credibility. Another label of vintage may be applied to valuable or culturally significant items of newer origin. If you are buying purely for personal satisfaction then does it matter how others label your purchase. But if it is for an investment then maybe pay a little more attention as these things can affect value.

Fraud: More or Less?

Is fraud more or less prevalent when buying antiques online? This depends on what you are buying, and where you are buying it from. Reputable dealers and auction houses will have the same verification systems and guarantees as always. Remember that telephone bidders existed long before the internet ever existed. Other websites and auctions are where it becomes a little less clear. If you buy an item from a private seller via a classified advert, you would need to prove that it is not what was advertised and commence a private legal proceeding to recover your payment. Other platforms, such as eBay, have buyer protection systems in place where you can make a complaint and it will be investigated.