Keeping up with what is being offered at auction can be challenging. There are over 50 auctions in Massachusetts each year, meaning that tens of thousands of antiques and collectibles are being bought and sold. How can one person keep track of them all and avoid missing out on the interesting, possibly esoteric, or rare antique they’re seeking?
The Skinner website offers an easy solution for collectors and prospective bidders: Lot Alert. Lot Alert is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to set up a list of search terms, also known as keywords. Whenever lots containing your search terms are added to the website as new content, an automatically generated email is sent directly to your inbox advising you of the sale. There’s no need to keep checking the website…Lot Alert will do the checking for you and notify you when a possible match is posted.
How to Sign up for Lot Alert
2. Enter and confirm your email address
3. Enter the search terms (keywords) that you would like to track. You can enter as many different searches as you would like.
Now, sit back and wait for an email alerting you when items matching your interests are available. You will receive alerts even before the print catalogue is distributed.
The email alert will contain a link to view the lots matching your search (see an example of typical search results below). If you are interested in an item, you can click “Inquiry” to contact the department specialists with questions, or even place confidential absentee bids by clicking “Bid & Track.”
You can return to your Lot Alert page and modify, add or delete keywords at any time.
Hints & Tips for Successful Lot Alert Matches
To get the most relevant alerts, it’s important to choose your keywords carefully. For example, you may wish to search by an artist’s or designer’s name (Hans Wegner), manufacturer (Wedgwood), or style (Victorian).
The more precise your search, the fewer, but more targeted lot alerts you will receive. Single words or simple phrases like “diamond” or “19th century,” will return too many matches to sort through.
Try refining your search by including more specific detail. Your refined keywords may be “Art Deco diamond,” or “19th century Chinese Export porcelain vase.”
The option “all of these words” is selected by default, and means that Lot Alert will only send you results that contain all of the words you entered, regardless of the order. You can select “any of these words” to get more results. For example, a Lot Alert for “Jensen sterling silver” with “any of these words” selected will alert you to information about all silver, all sterling, and all works by Georg Jensen. Be careful using “any of these words,” though. If you had put in “Georg Jensen sterling silver,” you’d also get alerted about every single item with the name “George” in its description!
Lot Alert searches each and every Skinner auction, so you’ll receive an email alerting you to any pieces matching the keywords you select, no matter what auction they are in. If you are looking for “Danish Modern,” you might only browse 20th Century Design auction catalogues, but Lot Alert will email you automatically when Danish Modern is offered in one of our monthly Discovery estate auctions or even in a single-owner sale.
Do you use Lot Alert? What keywords return the best results for you?Note: This post was originally published on June 15, 2011 and was revised on June 3, 2014