This past week, my wife and I were in Florida for vacation. We have this wonderful little place on the East Coast where we try and go every year with friends of ours. It’s become a bit of a ritual, and after a few years, you start to see the same people come year after year. They become familiar faces, soon you spend time getting to know each other.
As is typical, one of the first topics that comes up is, “So, what do you do for a living?” When I tell them I’m an auctioneer almost everyone is fascinated. I wish it was my engaging personality, but for the most part, the follow-up question is “I have this XYZ that I inherited from my Mom and Dad, what do you think it is worth?”
Well, I have a fairly good memory, but we have over 10,000 items cross the block every year, and they are as varied as French cameo glass to Boutet pistols. Furthermore, the most important lesson to learn is that “condition matters.” From the most experienced collector, to the beginner – one of the single biggest factors in bidding at auction is condition.
As an absentee bidder, you need as many tools as possible to make your decisions. We believe there are two critical elements that we can provide to assist you. First is an accurate catalog description, and second is professional photography that has not been retouched or “Photoshopped.” It takes a bit longer to do it right, but we think it is worthwhile.
Our catalogers typically have many years of experience, and have looked at thousands of items during their careers. Their knowledge is passed on with each item they catalog. In fact, we guarantee their catalog description for 45 days after the auction against any major problems. Our team of professional photographers take over 50,000 pictures every year. Many are published in our catalogs, all of them are available online.
So, what does all of this have to do with my vacation in Florida, and answering the “What’s it Worth” question? All of the items we have cataloged for over the last ten years can be found by using our Research Library located at www.jamesdjulia.com. You can access the pictures, the catalog descriptions, and the prices realized at the auction at the touch of a button. Best of all, you can compare the condition of Mom’s vase to the one that sold at auction. Not many other auctioneers provide this information on their website, but we’ve always done what we thought our collectors wanted.
It’s very easy to use. Select your favorite division, and then choose “Research Library” from the drop down menu. Type in your search criteria, and away you go. Over the past year we’ve had tens of thousands of people use it.