Buying or not buying vintage design on the web ?
I recently read in a French magazine that the antiques market on the
Internet was not reliable because of the inexperience of this new kind of
dealers. What about the vintage design market on Internet?
Having visited the sites which have specialized for several years, I think I
can say that not only is it a ripe market, but that the major inconvenience,
which consists of not being able to see the object with one's own eyes, is
compensated by many advantages.
First of all, the choice - I know around 200 specialized dealers in many
different countries. One can find everything - from an Alvar Aalto chair
to the designs of Philippe Starck. Even if I still get much pleasure from
visiting the real shops, the excitement of browsing the Internet to look for
a coveted object is also intense. The pleasure of finding a well-conceived
object is intact.
Second advantage - the risk of being too impulsive in making a purchase is
greatly diminished. The relative awkwardness of the buying procedures and a
certain mistrust with respect to buying the object online avoids hasty
Another advantage is linked to the great number of types of sale: dealers,
classified ads or auctions. Everyone can find a method of acquisition
which is suitable for himself.
With regard to the question of whether buying on the Internet is safe or
not, I would reply neither more nor less than with 'bricks and mortar'
shops. On the Internet, there are dealers who are more competent than
others, more honest also - but is this surprising?
In testing the quality of service of the dealers by buying small pieces at
a reasonable price, one can easily evaluate the competence of the person on
the other side of the screen. Besides, the auction sites have a feedback
system which allows you to easily judge the rate of satisfaction of a
Conclusion - go ahead, buy vintage design without fear on the Internet.
But, do not forget elementary prudence, and realize that a good knowledge
of design is still the best guarantee to make good acquisitions without
Discover the major sites of dealers in vintage design:
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