"It has completely changed the business," Julien Schaerer, Watch Director and Auctioneer at Antiquorum USA, told us in March last year.
"Buyers are much more educated, come from literally anywhere in the world and auction room attendance has diminished."
Mr Schaerer was talking about the impact of the internet on the global collectors' markets. And his observation that "auction room attendance has diminished" certainly wasn't bad news...
If anything, more and more people are getting involved in auctions thanks to online internet bidding. Indeed, this is one of the reasons I set up www.paulfrasercollectibles.com: to help you find and get involved in the growing number of online opportunities.
Bringing collectibles to a new generation
I've been thinking a lot about the internet recently, and how much of a game-changer it really is. The web is revolutionising the global collectibles markets - and, even better, you could stand to benefit.
For instance, last week I wrote about the future markets for collectible hair. Celebrity hair has found an unlikely new champion in global pop star Justin Bieber, who's auctioning his famous locks for charity this week.
Below, Paul explains why this 18th century Qianlong vase is set to be a big star on Google - and not for the first time...
This is definitely big news. You see, hair collecting is still perceived as 'odd' by many people. I often have to explain that hair collecting actually dates back to the Victorian era - and also happens to be among the strongest and most affordable collectible investments.
But, like I said, the internet is a game-changer. Bieber's fans from all over the world will be eager to bid on his hair, bringing this centuries-old hobby to a whole new generation.
Justin Bieber is one of the most Googled names on the planet. And it seems that wherever Google ventures, the collectibles markets aren't far behind... Take, for example, one of this week's most Googled stories...
The King's Speech has travelled around the world...
Oscar-winning movie the King's Speech is big news since its cleaned-up at the Academy Awards on Sunday. As a test, I Googled "King's Speech auction" and straight away this came up: "Wallis Simpson's Vintage Fashion to Be Auctioned."
The charity sale of items for sale once owned by Ms Simpson, Duchess of Windsor - whose affair with King Edward VIII is a key plotline in the King's Speech - includes a Christian Dior black crocodile handbag, circa 1964, estimated at £8,000-12,000.
One thing's for sure, there'll be much excitement and anticipation at the Dodi International Charitable Foundation, benefiters of the sale. It's likely that internet users from around the world seize this opportunity to invest in a real-life star of The King's Speech.
You can buy Colin Firth's autograph ... or why not invest in a 'real-life' star of the King's Speech like Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor?
Wallis Simpson isn't the only 'star of collectibles' to make a splash both on the internet and in the markets. Another is an 18th century Qianlong vase originally uncovered during a house clearance, last year.
The vase is believed to have been produced at the Imperial Kilns in around 1740. You might remember it made worldwide headlines when it sold for a World Record £53.1m in an obscure UK auction, last year.
But there's a new twist to this fascinating tale... The vase has not yet been paid for and, as a result, could again be put up for auction - and when it happens, you can bet it'll be all over the internet as worldwide collectors go online to get involved.
The world is at your fingertips
So how do you stand to benefit from all of this? Well, more than any previous generations of collectors, you have the world at your fingertips - and the power to buy, sell, do your research and network with collectors across the globe.
Paul Fraser Collectibles offers a number of rare, coveted and investment-grade items that you can buy online - click here to view our Stock Items for Sale. We've also compiled a number of collectibles indices to help you weigh up the best buys and build yourself a fantastic alternative investments portfolio.
Alternatively, watch this space for all the latest collectibles news from around the world. Or contact our experts to find out how you as a collector can benefit from the power of the internet:
+44 (0) 117 933 9500
All the best, until next week
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