Hess Fine Art

Fine Art, Auction, Watch and Antique Experts Since 1984.
1131 4th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (map)
(727) 896-0622 | 1-800-922-4377
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Digital Dilemma: Buying and selling art on the Internet


Whenever I email them, I always hear back quickly. I prefer email over the phone because I'm hard of hearing. Lorenezo M.

Surfing on the Internet, one can land in any part of the world to grab a great piece of art. The Internet proves to be big business for artists and gallery owners who are handy with HTML codes. Unfortunately, in any great ocean of information there are always the sharks circling for a bite. 

...In Addition to eBay's other attempts to make its platform safe, like VeRO (verified rights of owners) in which businesses monitor sites to make sure forgeries aren't being sold in their name; it will be interesting to see if this program does work with the amount of users. 

On the other hand, is it ebay that needs to change or does the bidder need to stop being so naïve in making blind purchases for dirty dealers? eBay is encouraging it's users to follow guidelines when making any purchase. Such a tip is to look for PowerSellers, who have a high volume of sales with 98 percent feedback rating, such as the HessFine site. 

Jeffrey Hess, President of Hess Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Fla., says that he got involved with eBay after being invited to be a part of Sothebys.com in 1999. When Sotheby's closed their Internet auction site in 2002 (Sotheby refused to comment to Art-Talk on why they shutdown the site), Hess found that Internet sales were too good to give up. 

"When we were invited by Sotheby's, we thought it might be a good opportunity because there was going to be a network of experts involved to monitor it. This gave it the appearance of being a legitimate operation. When Sotheby's got involved with Amazon.com and then eBay, we thought that it was a terrible move," says Hess. 

Hess thought the eBay platform would end up causing problems and lowering the reputation of the auctions, but found it did just the opposite. When Sotheby's abandoned it's online auctioning, eBay continued to offer Hess the opportunity to sell his art to the world in a professional and dependable venue. 

"It's opened the art world to the masses," says Hess. "It's allowed me to jump over the New York dealers, who would dictate the prices of my art. Now I can reach collectors all over the world." 

So basically, check out whom it is you're buying from before losing the cash.... 

Publication Name: 
Publish Date: 
January, 2005