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for Tuesday, October 15, 2002
There is a powerful new tool for collectors, auction junkies, and people settling estates: KirkStreet.com. It's simple to use, free for sellers, and inexpensive for buyers.
Kirk Street's principle feature is a searchable directory of collectors, dealers, museums, and other serious buyers. As an example, a user who's inherited a stamp collection can search Kirk Street to find buyers of stamps in their area -- or all over the country.
Street aims to become the central directory of people who are "always
buying." Says co-founder Scott Southwick, "We want it to be like
checking the 'want ads' sections of a thousand newspapers, with one click."
The site is designed for anyone who is settling an estate, cleaning house, moving, discarding surplus, or otherwise trying to find a home for material objects or any other reason one might want to find a specialty collector.
Remsberg, a 78 record collector with a professional background in the used book trade, museums, and documentary research for PBS, runs the site with Southwick, best known as the creator of Liszt.com, a three-time Yahoo! Pick of the Day in the 90s, and named one of Yahoo! Internet Life's "10 Net Essentials."
For collectors and dealers, this site greatly expands the scope of people who will contact them with items. "It's always exciting when the phone rings with news of a collection that was just found in a local attic," says Remsberg. "This expands the possibility of those calls from beyond their communities to the whole country, even the world."
Because of relatively recent phenomena like Antiques Roadshow and eBay, people are more likely aware of the value of and market for their belongings but often lack the time, equipment, or inclination to sell it themselves. "They might know the value of a collection or a piece of furniture," Remsberg said, "but they don't know how to go about the very real process of turning that into an actual sale."
"It's ideal for people who are trying to settle a relative's estate," adds Southwick. "You might not know anything about the things they collected or how to connect with the people who would be interested in them."
And what is the difference between Kirk Street and eBay? "Where eBay is an auction, Kirk Street is more like a yellow pages. An enormous, specialized yellow pages," Remsberg explained. "No transactions take place through the site. It is a source for information, and the seller and buyer are free to negotiate their own deal."
Kirk Street also includes several related features, including an Auction Notification Service, where members are automatically alerted to auctions and other sales that have items in their areas of interest, as well as a classified ads section and the option of personal help finding a buyer.
There is a
nominal fee for the buyers listed in the directory, and it is always free
to sellers. Kirk Street can be found on the web at www.kirkstreet.com.
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