CHESTERTON | The name, Bid of History, tells the story.
Robert Zahkar and Vince Kisala's business, an in-house and online auction house, handles property from estates, of collectors or just those who need to dispose of items they no longer want or need. Auctions are held live at the seller’s premises, at the auction house or online.
The latter is what sets them apart from their local competitors.
“We wanted to do something different,” said Vince Kisala, the owner of an eBay store in Chesterton. “We decided to be a high-tech house.”
The partners opened the business in December after almost a year of preparation that included renovating a commercial building owner by Zakhar and earning state certifications as auctioneers.
“We went to Indianapolis in February (2012) for 10 days to auctioneering school,” Kisala said. “It was a lot more involved than either of us thought. Indiana is very strict. We had 90 hours of schooling, passed three exams inside the school and had to go to the Indiana State building to pass the final certification test. We both passed and got our licenses in March (2012.)”
Besides renovating the building at a cost of $275,000, the men spent another $200,000 buying the computer system that allows them to video and audio stream their auctions live via the internet.
The partners and their appraisers evaluate each item to be sold to determine if it would sell for more on eBay or through a live and internet steaming auction.
The business uses seven years of previous online sales history and nine months of eBay sales data to help evaluate an item’s worth. But like all auctions, "it’s the crowd that determines what an item will sell for,” Kisala said.
Items to be auctioned are photographed and a catalog of all the photos and a detailed description of each item is compiled and put online. Bidders can place bids two weeks prior to the auction and then live during the event.
“The items that we think will benefit from world-wide exposure we put online,” Kisala said. “It gives them huge exposure to the world. We pick items like pieces of art.”
There are four large computer screens in the auction house that carry that allow bidders there to see and interact with online bids.
“When we put something up on our network, it will show the item to anyone searching for that,” Kisala said. “During out first online auction in February we had bidders from 16 different countries registered to bid and had sales in London Thailand and Switzerland. Being tied into the network gave us a real jumps start in getting bidders.”
Zakhar, an antique car collector, said he understands how hard it is for people to let go of their prized items.
“But I know we can help a lot of people,” he said. “We’re not going after the highest buck to take people to the cleaners. Our real value is treating customers fair and searching world-wide to get the best price for them.”