Sunday, May 11, 2014

Online Spotlight:

One of the benefits of attending Assets 2014, the International Society of Appraisers annual conference in Kansas City, was the opportunity to interact with a diverse and talented group of appraiser colleagues, exhibitors and speakers.

Representatives from Lofty exhibited this year and I'm excited to share some information with you about this channel for purchasing antiques online.

Lofty is an antique marketplace that goes one step beyond the typical online shopping experience by providing expert evaluations which result in the pricing of sales inventory.  Imagine that, virtual expert evaluators provide no obligation Professional Opinions of Value (POV) to help sellers price their antiques and buyers can rely on the information to make an informed purchase.  A POV is not the same as a written appraisal report, like what you would need for insurance or tax purposes. The expert evaluator does not inspect the item in person, they simply rely on photos and information communicated by the seller.  What's cool is that anyone can participate by submitting their antique items for review and sale.  I like the simple and easy to navigate website and mobile app.

In short, here is how the process works for SELLERS:

1.  Register and send Lofty photos for expert review, pricing and listing in the online marketplace.

2.  If the item is worth more than $500 you have the option to list it for sale in the Lofty marketplace OR place the item in an online auction.

3.  If the item sells, Lofty arranges for packing, insured shipping (at the buyers expense) and sends the proceeds to the seller minus Lofty's commission.

This is how to BUY on 

1.  Register at

2.  Browse the categories for what you love and either Buy Now or participate in an online auction.

3.  Pay (item cost + shipping), wait for your item to arrive and provide feedback to Lofty.

Of course, one must review all of the Terms and Conditions available on the Lofty website, it is critical to understand the limitations of using any online antiques marketplace and the value opinions put forth by Lofty.  Experts are compensated and there is a commission based sales referral program.

Lofty offers 2 Guarantees to customers.  The first is a 7 Day Money Back and the second is a 5 Year Authenticity Guarantee.  Wow! Not many antique marketplaces (online or bricks and mortar) offer these types of consumer protections.  Interestingly, the language option box offers the site in English, Chinese and Russian.  This speaks volumes about who is shopping and spending in the online antiques market these days.  Lofty will arrange for international shipping, unless the item is prohibited by law.

Are you shipping antiques and household goods nationally or internationally?  Consult with an independent appraiser.  Open marine insurance policies differ in their levels of coverage, restrictions and damage-loss clauses.  Antiques should be appraised for coverage, possibly under a separate policy rider.  Household contents also need to be inventoried.  An appraiser can determine pre-move values and establish a record of condition prior to packing and shipping.  All of this should be completed before signing the Bill of Lading.

Although I simply adore compensation, I did not receive any for writing this blog about Lofty and I do not participate as one of their online appraisers.

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