Online suite of services provides everything from valuations to exhibition opportunities
Exhibition builds provenance and value of objects. Art and antiques appreciate in value when they have been exhibited at museums – therefore lending your work for exhibition is a win-win situation for collectors, galleries and the public, says Patrick van der Vorst, founder of the online valuation service ValueMyStuff.com.
Such is his conviction that he launched the new service ExhibitMyStuff, linked from AuctionMyStuff.com, to help connect collectors with curators. The site offers a natural progression for people who have had their work valued via ValueMyStuff.com.
“Once we have identified an artist or a piece of pop memorabilia, we encourage our customers to email us to be included in our property list available for exhibition,” he says. “Curators often call us to scour our database for unique objects to include in their exhibitions. We view this service as value added for our customers just as much as providing assistance with restoration and/or fine art shipping.”
Collectors, curators, and museum owners use the ExhibitMyStuff service on a regular basis – and the variety of works it offers for exhibition is often surprising.
“People often associate museums with sculpture and paintings, but there are museums dedicated to Toys, Coca-Coca Cola and Dolls (to name a few) who are always looking to boost their permanent collection with unique, fresh to the market works. ExhibitMyStuff is also an important feature of what we do as a research institution.”
Van der Vorst’s services for collectors do not stop there. He launched several other related sites in the past year, including AuctionMyStuff, after identifying various needs amongst his ValueMyStuff customers.
“After providing valuations for three years, we realized that our customers need to understand the value of their art or antiques was only the first step in the journey to sell or insure their valuables,” he says. “Our customers not only sought our advice regarding the value of their objects but wanted to know the best place to sell, which conservator to use for restoration or even the most qualified art shipping company to transport their property.
“After rebranding last year, we added services to insure, auction, exhibit, transport, restore, and store people’s objects online. This makes the platform a one-stop-shop for anything people eventually want to do.”
Van der Vorst says that AuctionMyStuff gives a buying advantage to all its customers who believe in the collaborative consumption platform but do need that additional reassurance that what they are buying is as marketed. AuctionMyStuff comes with the added benefit of the regulatory body ValueMyStuff, where items are accompanied by the item’s initial expert valuation.
“In this way, buyers can feel satisfied not only that the item’s description is correct but that the value is correctly placed among the market.”
He says that other online marketplaces get a bad reputation due to a lack of a third party regulatory body.
“It seems like the best analogy is a democratic government analogy and we have put that check and balance system into place for buyers (and sellers),” he says.
He adds that the AuctionMyStuff selling commission is lower than international auction houses and there are no hidden fees.
“Also, the estimate you receive as a seller is true market value and not pitched at a level that would make it attractive to buyers without protecting the value to the seller.”
Asked when a collector should make the decision to sell an item, van der Vorst says that it is wise to employ an element of instinct, but also to pay attention to the market, watching for any relevant rises or falls in value.
“My best advice would be to sell when you are ready to part with an item; being forced to sell because of economic pressures is never a fun way to sell.
“That being said, a good way to know when to sell is to follow market and seasonal trends. Predicting the market, whether financial or art, can seem like an opaque process for those who do not live and breathe the relevant news and results. The advice that I can give, and do give people, is to become familiar with the auction season and the different auction houses. Look at results and see what people are selling – ask yourself what does well and think of the reasons why.”