Friday, February 13, 2009

Another Experiment: Collector Classifieds

Like many collectors, from time to time, we get a note from a fellow collector who has some photographs they want to sell. More often than not, these aren't a fit for our particular collection, so we send along a friendly but negative reply. This scenario occurred again for us earlier this week. But it got us thinking. What if we were to offer up these photographs to our readers on the blog? Perhaps we could assist in finding a collector to collector match and everyone would be better off.

So given our penchant for experimentation, we going to try out the concept of Collector Classifieds with these images we were recently offered (the seller has agreed as well). In the event we find that there is interest beyond this one-time listing, here's how we think it will work, along with some general ground rules:

1.) A collector sends us the standard information about the photographs that are for sale (artist, title, date, edition, signature, dimensions etc.), including the price (email to No images will be published, nor will any comments or sales pitches. Think of this as the no-frills two line classifieds from your local newspaper or PennySaver, just with a much more targeted group of readers. We will post them on a Collector Classifieds page on the blog, for one month (or until they are sold).

2.) There will be no charges or fees for the listing or on the transaction if one occurs. This is a courtesy matching service for our readers, from one collector to another.

3.) Discretion is critical. Sellers will be always be anonymous on the blog. Prospective buyers will send an email, with the item number they are interested in as the subject of the message, to We will blindly forward this email directly to the seller and then get out of the way. The seller will then contact the prospective buyer directly so the two parties can negotiate the transaction, share scans of the works, figure out shipping etc. The only requirement we have of sellers is that they respond to each and every email from prospective buyers in a timely manner.

4.) We are not a reputable specialist auction house or even Ebay. We will not authenticate any of the images offered, vouch for the sellers or buyers, or help resolve any scams or disputes. We won't comment on whether we think the prices listed are fair or not. In general, these are private transactions, and we're not interested in knowing anything about them (good or bad). This is the Internet, so buyer and seller beware. We are not responsible for how you conduct yourselves.

5.) We will only list those items that meet our standards of high quality, collector appropriate material. We realize that that our decisions about what is listed may be subjective, random, or arbitrary, and that some sellers may be disappointed if we reject their material. Too bad. We feel it is up to us to provide some quality control so we don't waste the time of our readers.

Will anyone want to do this beyond the first listing, which we'll post soon? Will it work or scale this way? Will we need to improve the system later if we get more interest? Have we missed something important? Who knows. But it seems to us that helping collectors connect to each other is what this blog is about, so let's give it a try. If you have ideas for how to improve this concept, leave them in the comments or send us an email.

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