By Chris Hughes
I found this Zanesville matte green vase model 795 on a road trip in Missouri. I’m taking far fewer road trips now that items like this are easier to find on the Internet.
Over the last two decades the Internet has increasingly impacted culture and commerce, but for most of us in the antiques and collectibles world, its integration into everyday life has been a relatively recent phenomenon.
My “good old days” began in the early 1990’s, when I spent countless hours driving my station wagon through dusty towns in the Midwest in search of antiques and collectibles. As many of you may recall, this was when even the smallest town had at least one antique shop or thrift store with treasures to be had. Armed with only a road atlas and time to kill, I hunted and gathered with great success. But as the Internet continued to expand, antiques and collectibles commerce changed.
By the mid to late 1990’s, I witnessed many antique shops partitioning their inventory into online vs. in-store sales. Some shops were disappearing all together, opting to sell online exclusively. I couldn’t blame them because I was also selling online and marveling over its convenience. Not everyone welcomed this transformation, but no one could argue it was inevitable and for many necessary.
Today, my motivation to take road trips has diminished because there are now fewer shops and, all too often, I return empty handed. It’s a relief that I’m able to satiate my thrill of the hunt on the Internet, but I miss the social element of talking shop and forging friendships with storeowners and fellow auction goers.
At WorthPoint, I’ve had a role in developing site features and products for 2009. A primary focus has been recreating that atmosphere I long for from my road trip days, where collectors and dealers can freely talk with each other and share information. WorthPoint sees opportunities for better online communication being demonstrated on successful networking sites like Linkedin, Facebook and MySpace. Our product development team has drawn inspiration from these sites to incorporate new social features found on every WorthPoint member profile. These new features are fun and make your collecting life more productive, and hopefully profitable.
I am interested in hearing from others. Do you miss the good old days? Do you sense the need for an online collecting community? How are you adjusting to these times from buying and selling in person to buying and selling online?
Chris Hughes is a Worthologist who specializes in militaria and World War II collectibles.
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