The euphemism of being “dragged, kicking and screaming” further into the abyss of technology has often applied to me. The fantasy I had twenty-three years ago when I left the entertainment construction industry to become an appraiser and purveyor of American antiques did not include a vision of spending countless hours in front of a computer. I envisioned hours with my nose in a book, hours engaged with collectors and scholars in the gallery, days prowling estate sales, shops, shows and flea markets seeking treasures of Americana. For a few years I did those things. I did have a “beeper”. I could be paged by phone if there was an imminent need to communicate while I was away, but there was no cell phone. My Apple 2E was relegated to the composition of word documents only (they were called “letters”), and I did have a fax machine.

Gradually the business began to take on dimensions antithetical to the inherent character of being immersed in the artifacts of our history. Email…at first…was a blessing. How easy it was to communicate the necessary needs and information without the time constraint of attendant conversation. “Just the facts, Madam.”

How fun it was to find a treasure on Ebay when the antique category had nothing but antiques in it…How fun it was to sell something on Ebay that no one was paying attention to in the shop.

Gradually, technology began to provide other benefits as well. As informational data bases developed, research for appraisal work simplified. I no longer had to travel to the various library collections…or build my own…to access the research needed for identification and valuation. I built (or had built) my first web site to offer inventory far beyond the reach of my geographically proximate clientele. I could maintain communications with an ever-expanding base of collectors and dealers. But…gradually…technology also began to demand more and more time, and to alter the very nature of the antiques business. Email communications have expanded exponentially, demanding a greater portion of every day’s available time. Web sites have to be maintained to be effective. Social networking takes another bite of time. Antique auctions are all on-line and every dealer has a web presence, giving collectors virtually unlimited access to markets anywhere in the world. They no longer have a need to go into the brick and mortar shops that once proliferated. As the shops have disappeared, so have the shows that were once the only way for collectors to access the merchandise of many vendors at once…and the only way for dealers to access a broad demographic of buyers beyond their own location.

 

So…Things change. If you’re reading this blog, you are also visiting my “new and improved” web site. Does this mean I’ve embraced technology? No! I’m still “kicking and screaming.” I’m still writing this first blog from my brick and mortar storefront, and I’m still out there hunting for treasures of Americana. I always told my daughter as she was growing up…”The world is full of idiots. Don’t be one.” This passion I have for what I do is still keeping me from following my own advice. So…come on by the store…The “idiot” is still here, and there’s still some real (not virtual) treasures to share!