eBay has added an authentication service in the Asian Antiques category thanks to a partnership with a service called Bidamount, operated by Peter Combs, a dealer and appraiser based in Massachusetts and owner of Plcombs.
Items listed in eBay’s Asian Antiques category now display a “Second Opinion” logo sandwiched between the Payments and Returns sections, with the words, “Ask an Asian Antiques Expert” and a link to “Learn More.” Here’s link to one of the listings that features the service.
Clicking on the link takes you to the Bidamount.com website where, for $10, you can get an opinion about the authenticity of the item.
Combs told us that the proliferation of copies and reproductions of Asian Antiques has created a huge problem on eBay. “Currently there are over 820,000 “Antiques” listed in the Asian Antiques category from around the world. The vast majority clearly are not antique.”
He said the service is very similar to the Baseball Card Authentication program through PSA, started a few years ago.
On the Bidamount website, it says that for your $10, you’ll find out if it thinks an item is Likely Genuine, Likely Not Genuine or Inconclusive. “Fill out the submission form, pay the $10 via Pay Pal and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours with our opinion. If we cannot arrive at a determination, all money will be refunded with an explanation.”
We’re unsure about the financial arrangements between eBay and Combs’ company, which is an eBay affiliate and also sells on eBay. We’ll update this post if we learn more – including the process by which Bidamount evaluates the items in eBay listings.
Now that the process is in place, eBay could expand it to other categories with other partners. Is this the best approach to cracking down on fakes in antiques and other categories?
Update 4/24/19: Bidamount had an existing service called Preview Assistant that offered opinions for $12 for items listed on eBay and other auction sites prior to entering into the agreement with eBay. Combs believes eBay wants to reinvigorate its antiques category – and he thinks the concept of “second opinions” is scalable for eBay. His company is a family business (it has been around since the 1970s with a deep knowledge of Asian antiques), and he, his wife, his son, and a small staff do the appraisals, for which they receive 100% of the proceeds.