Website Alert: www.liveauctioneers.com
By Rebecca Markman, ISA AM, ANA AA, Candidate Member, ASA Accredited Personal Property Appraiser
The majority of items I encounter on a typical appraisal assignment are ordinary household antiques… mid level pieces of fine to good quality, most in decent condition, not particularly rare, nor of notable provenance, nor exceptionally unique. I subscribe to a healthy collection of databases to perform my research, however, my current website of choice for data analysis on this caliber of material is Liveauctioneers.com, and it is free. All you need is an eBay user name to be able to access the archives.
Liveauctioneers.com acts as a gateway between their client base of auction houses, eBay Live auctions, and eBay users. Currently, over 360 regional auction houses upload their catalogues onto the Liveauctioneers website, resulting in 8,000 to 10,000 new records added daily. The site is currently expanding into UK and other foreign markets as well. Users can search upcoming sales, archives, or both for relevant data on antiques and collectibles that have come or are coming across the auction block. Most records include an image, a short description of the object, and the hammer price if the item has sold (just the estimate if not), along with the date and place of sale. The archives currently go back to 2002, but Julian Ellison, the president, mentioned plans to eventually publish archival records dating back some 30 years, and a goal of including condition reports in the records. The company’s revenues come from eBay and the auction houses. In a phone conversation, Mr. Ellison stated his dedication to free consumer access to the information generated by the auction sales. Great news for personal property appraisers!
Recent searches I performed for various assignments yielded results for a Lalique “Pinsons” bowl, a pair of Sevres style urns, a Round Oak stove with finial, and a Picasso 1963 lithograph. There are features for the advanced user that allow customization of search results and alerts about upcoming items for sale. You can elect to receive a weekly newsletter. Comparison between Liveauctioneers and other databases? Liveauctioneers is FREE. Priceminer.com covers the same echelon of material but also includes retail data from goantiques.com and tias.com and has tools for data analysis. Personally, I find Liveauctioneers more visually appealing to use. Smartcollector.com covers 120 days of eBay sales and also provides interesting statistical analysis, but does not cover eBay Live auctions and the initial data search does not picture the item. P4A provides more background on individual sale conditions (both at the auction and for the object), but frankly my searches on Liveauctioneers are always more successful. I still use Artfact.com for my higher end items and currently the database goes back further, but this could change as Liveauctioneers matures. My Askart.com subscription for fine art searches is not in jeopardy, but I now supplement all my database results by checking Liveauctioneers.com. This website is easy to use, has current, relevant data with images, and the price is unbelievable.