Antique Helper & Ripley Auctions Launches Auction Express
Writer & Photographer / Kara Reibel
Antique Helper & Ripley Auctions recently launched their Express Auction off Winford and 62nd Street. By creating a buyer-friendly auction model, Express Auctions welcome anyone to be a buyer without the complications of buyer’s premiums or online bidding competition.
“We wished to create a simple, transparent process,” says Antique Helper, Inc. owner Dan Ripley.
Whereas the online auction involves scaled consignment fees, a complicated structure and online participants bidding in real time, Ripley identified a need for an easier platform to welcome new sellers/clients.
“Auctions of art and antiques can be intimidating, and there is a steep learning curve to become a confident auction buyer and collector,” shares Ripley. “We take the sting out of this process with Express Auctions.”
With the goal of promoting local businesses, artisans and sustainability, Antique Helper & Ripley Auctions was created with the purpose of cultivating stewardship for Indianapolis and surrounding area. Antique Helper Express and Indy Urban Flea were designed to help meet those goals of serving others.
Ripley learned his trade from his parents and grandparents. Coming from a family of dealers, their expertise is in recognizing what is valuable and sellable which has been passed down to Ripley. When Dan got into the business, he inherited his grandfather’s library. He started looking through his books and loved it.
“I was taught to not throw anything away – you never know…” shares Ripley. Last year, Antique Helper & Ripley Auctions sold an electric fan for $4,000. It was a 19th century electric fan – Edison fan.
Antique Helper & Ripley Auctions sold a toilet for $2,000, which was designed by Henry Dreyfus in the 1930s. The toilet belonged to the Art Deco home of Louis Schwitzer. Schwitzer won the first road race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Antique Helper & Ripley Auctions is a pioneer in the online bid process. They provided the online marketing platform in the early 2000s to other national auction houses. “From a tech side, we are leaders in the online auction business,” says Ripley. “Our website receives over 1,000 unique visitors per day, and almost all of them are there for research.”
Provenance is the history of an item. Antique Helper & Ripley Auctions keeps searchable history of their auctions and collections dating back to 2003. In addition to the auction history, Ripley believes that every great collection tells a story, and these are often an oral history shared upon meeting the collectors. Ripley is creating the Ripley Registry, an online database designed to provide a unique added value to a collectible: its history.
“Just like photographs of a place tell a story, we are creating a place to share the story of an object,” says Ripley. “Anything that adds to the experience of the object adds to its value.”
“As a consignment dealer, we have to rewrite the story of the piece. We don’t know it, so we have to research it and write it. But the idea is to take this photo of an object and record the information. It gets attached with a unique item number, and eventually it will all be recorded in the cloud somewhere,” says Ripley.
Antique Helper Express is a partnership with John Dillon of 62nd St. Furniture Resale. With no minimums and no reserve, there is no buyer’s premium to pay, and the public is welcome and any can attend. Express Auction is held twice a month on Tuesdays with a preview of items online.
“Consignment places turn away furniture and a ton of collectible property from estates, including art and jewelry,” says Ripley. “We accept these items and are offering real estate services too.”
By providing the Express Auction service, Antique Helper creates a truly full-service auction experience for the sophisticated buyer and the novice without pretension or hidden costs. Ripley has created a global marketplace with shipping and receiving consigned items from all over the world while making the experience very local.
Calls are welcomed for free evaluations and consultations. Please visit antiquehelper.com for further information.