A few months ago when the Second Opinion service began with us on eBay, I spoke with my friend Clayton Pennington about it. Clayton is the Editor and Publisher of the Maine Antiques Digest aka MAD. His voluminous monthly family paper is the bible for antique collectors in the US. It’s like getting the New York Times Sunday edition but for antiques. He felt it was a very worthy endeavour on behalf of eBay and wrote the following Editorial.
July 8th, 2019, RE: eBay Second Opinion Service
Another Look for Ten Bucks
by Clayton Pennington, Editorial July 2019
Editorial, July 2019
In early April an intriguing new service was added to eBay. Before bidding on or buying Asian art, eBay users in the United States can now pay $10 via PayPal to have the object looked at—via the eBay listing and not in person—by an expert in Asian art who will render an opinion on its authenticity.
After reviewing the listing, the expert will answer “Likely Genuine,” “Likely Not Genuine,” or “Inconclusive.” (In the case of “Inconclusive,” the $10 will be refunded.) “We’re not giving a value,” said Combs.
Items listed in eBay’s Asian antiques category now display a “Second Opinion” logo between the Payments and Returns sections, with the words, “Ask an Asian Antiques Expert” and a link to “Learn More.” The link leads to a form on the Bidamount site (https://bidamount.com).
The service covers porcelain, ceramics, robes, scholar’s objects, China trade, bronzes, and old paintings. The service will not apply to modern style and early 20th-century paintings.
According to Combs, there’s a real need for the service—very good Asian fakes are flooding the market. “It’s an epidemic, and it’s getting worse,” he said. Approximately 250,000 listings for Chinese antiques on eBay—about 25%—are being offered from sellers in mainland China. Those are most assuredly fakes, says Combs, based on stringent Chinese export restrictions of antiques. “It’s the easiest way to know they are fakes,” Combs joked.
The service has proved successful and uncontroversial. “So far, nobody has come back and said, ‘You’re outta your mind. I completely disagree.’”
We think the service should be expanded to other collecting categories, which also have seen hefty increases of fakes.
Fakes are a black eye for the trade—and a huge headache for eBay—and a $10 quick expert opinion could help cut down on their sale.
For MAD subscription information click here
It’s a very good paper, lots of good auction preview information on their site and in the paper. Also, wide-ranging in-depth coverage of auction results and what’s happening in the market here and overseas. It’s a good monthly read.