Buying And Selling Art On The Net

(Image of print successfully posted for sale.)
                                    by Ken Darling

Let me say now, that I am not a professional Internet dealer . I'm basically a novice in Internet trading. I have had a little more than a years experience with this process and am willing to share with you what knowledge I've gained.

As an artist I saw the web as an opportunity to expose my work and works by others to potentially millions of people and if at the same time I could sell some of this work so much the better. The tools neccessary to investigate this new medium were my first priority.....namely a computer with Internet capabilities. Learning to use this tool was pretty much by rote and a lot of help from computer literate friends.

After I became confident with my computer it was time to investigate and familiarize myself with what was taking place out there on the great world wide web in areas that interested me....namely the graphic arts. It soon became obvious to me that a lot of activity was already taking place out there in this field.

There were virtual galleries with pictures, prints, photographs, objects and all kinds of art.....and it was all for sale. These galleries represented active artists and sometimes traded in just works of artists both living and deceased. There were sites by the artists themselves offering to sell to the public directly. Web pages connected to organizations, groups, institutions and museums offered a view of artists work...for sale.

Auctions were taking place on some sites. There were auctions selling all kinds of things. Some included art. I found that these auctions were held in many different ways. Some auctions were on-line live real time with bidding taking place through email, FAX and phone. Some were time limited (number of days, hours and minutes) with on-line bidding.

One of these sites got my attention real Ebay is an on-line 24/7 auction house/system. It's a privately owned (well now publicly owned since it now sells stock) and operated auction site in which to participate one must register. Both buyers and sellers must register. Sellers must, besides registering, deposit cash or a credit card number in an account with eBay from which listing fees and sales commissions are withdrawn. These fees and commissions are charged for items the seller lists with eBay to hopefully sell. Listing fees vary from 25 cents to several dollars depending on the selling price. The listing fee is charged whether an item sells or not. The commission is charged only for successful sales.

The commission is based on a sliding scale from 2.5% to 5%. At this point let me run through a typical listing proceedure. The seller clicks on a listing form which has a list of questions pertaing to the item to be listed. The tiltle for the item (ie. "Etching of birds - signed") , location of the seller (NY,NY, OR, sunny Florida, etc.), catagory into which the item might be classified (collectable, orientalia, misc.) these catagories are listed on the eBay web home pa

A little something here about what I've been trading on eBay. I soon found that shipping big items while being difficult to pack were quite expensive to ship (paintings can run as much as $35 to $75 to ship). Since I already had some business going with woodblock prints and they are very easy to ship (U.S. Priority Mail even supplies packaging free) that's the area I do most of my trading at this point. Some day soon I would like to have my own web page to offer my work (paintings and prints) to the web public.

It's another form for marketing art and I believe it's the wave of now so get out there and do it. I wish you best results. I would love to hear from anyone who has gotten good results from offering their work on web pages/s. *Pictures for listings; In order to include a picture in a listing it is neccessary to get the picture into a digital format (jpeg or gif) and then to place this picture on the web for the duration of the auction. There are picture hosting services available on the web which will perform this function for a small fee. Some are even free.

If there is a scanner or digital camera available the process is quite simple. Scan the image into your computer in a jpg format, contact a hosting service, upload the image to the service who will assigne an http: address to it and get that address back to you via email so you can enter it in the listing form. Many hosting services will also scan your photgraphs for around $1-$2 each. Just search for ; image hosting on the net. Several should come up.

Another point that should be mentioned here is sales taxes. Generally state sales taxes are due on all sales within the state and in order to collect these taxes one usually has to obtain a resale license. Also in most states sales made outside of the state are not subject to taxes. There are some rumblings out there about requiring collection of taxes regardless of in state or out sales.

Copyright © Ken Darling 1999