Published: May 12, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Incollect
ONLINE – If the art and antiques field was viewed as a decathalon of various ways in which dealers could trade, there now is a new event to consider…but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Opening on April 29, Incollect and Antiques & Fine Art (AFA) have launched the first of four planned two-month long annual online antiques shows under the banner “AFAShows.” Hosting 88 dealers offering a broad range of fine and decorative arts and antiques, collectibles, jewelry and rugs spanning more than two millenium, the show will be online through June 28.
Rather than creating a sense of urgency among buyers such as has been seen with recent other online shows of considerably briefer duration, the two-month run of the Incollect / AFAShow not only gives Incollect more time to promote the show but allows dealers and clients the time for extensive conversations and the development of new and existing relationships.
When Antiques and The Arts Weekly reached Incollect’s owner John Smiraldo by phone a few days after the show opened, he said that more than 8,000 people had visited the site and “hundreds” of inquiries had been made through the website.
We wanted to take the temperature of the show after its first week online so we reached out to approximately half of the dealers to see if they had received any inquiries, made any sales or new clients. While most of the dealers who responded felt it was too early to report sales, a few reported positively.
“Overall, I’m pleased,” said Steve Winters of Historical Americana, Acworth, Ga. “I had two sales in the first day or two; one was about $2,500, the other was $200.” He noted that both pieces had been “marked down pretty well,” with no sales of items at regular price.
William “Bill” Drucker of Drucker Antiques, Mount Kisco, N.Y., deemed the show “an interesting event.” He noted two sales on the first day, one being a Tiffany & Co., sterling silver covered butter dish as well as an early Twentieth Century Georg Jensen brooch with labradorite. “It is reassuring that our clients responded to the online event and we met a new collector as well. It appears to be off to a good start.”
Stonington, Conn., dealer, Roberto Freitas, was extremely enthusiastic, reporting he was “thrilled with the show” having received “major inquiries on major things from major clients.” Right out of the gate, Freitas sold a Ralph Cahoon painting of a mermaid with a dog to an existing client who had seen the painting when he showed it in Palm Beach, Fla., in mid-February. He was optimistic that the long run of the show would result in several more sales.
Woodbury, Conn., Americana dealer, David Schorsch reported two sales, a blue-painted pine server from South Carolina and a watercolor portrait of girl with a flutina by Mary B. Tucker. Both sales were to existing clients.
Some dealers in the show have sold on Incollect before but for many, this is an inaugural event. One of the dealers new to the platform, Mario Pollo, sold four things within three days, including an oyster bucket to a private collector. His sales were to both existing and new clients.
Marketing of the show has – and will – include print and digital ads spread out over the full eight weeks of the show. Email blasts sent to Antiques & Fine Art and Incollect’s email list, with four additional blasts scheduled to be sent while the show is still online. Custom ad materials for each participating dealer are being prepared, which the dealers can send out directly to existing clients via email or post on social media. Incollect and AFA will begin its own social media campaigns the week of May 10 and will continue throughout the show’s run.
The website is currently being tweaked for optimizing searching and filtering. New content will be added in the coming weeks, including short integrated videos of dealers talking about individual works in their digital inventory that is anticipated to engage clients beyond the still photographs posted by each dealer.
Speaking candidly a week after the initial launch, Smiraldo was enthusiastic about how the show was going so far. “AFAshows, is off to a strong, promising start and it’s so exciting to see all the interest in online shows. We will improve AFAshows significantly and rapidly in the coming months. We’re 100 percent committed to its success and we have the resources to truly create something new, innovative and immensely important for the industry. While there will be bumps along the way, we will only learn from these and become better, creating something truly special. You and the industry will be so impressed with what’s to come this year at AFAshows, it’s going to be big!”
The summer edition will take place July 29-September 27, followed by the autumn edition October 28-December 27 and the winter edition January 27-March 28.
Antiques & The Arts Weekly will follow up with dealers once the spring show wraps in two months.
To access the show online, or for additional information, www.afashows.com.
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