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February, the shortest month, we are in the fist of winter.  Yet the days lengthen perceptibly, and
it is light past five oclock.  For the antique dealer, February is a month to just get through, a
measured exhalation of breath during long days of little traffic through the shop.  Some travel,
some travel the internet, and when it goes down you experience just how critical this new world
voice has become, even for an antique shop is simply unfathomable.  Like the bond between air
and lungs, once begun, indispensable.  Without it, you are shut down tight.  No instant
communication, business stops, even the antique business.

What was life like before?  Twenty years ago we approached the machine differently: there was
clearly a separate existence between you and the computer.  Now we have merged, like the
centaur, becoming a mythical beast through our fingertips.  The barbarians of hyperspace.

The internet is the most revolutionary phenomenon since the printing press.  In fact most juveniles
have never heard of a printing press.  Sad but true.  Off the shoulders of the personal computer
and chip technologies, the web has somersaulted through the heavens spanning the planet Earth,
interlacing tens of millions of individuals, across age, color, geography, in a constellation of
keyboard-screens, a virtual global village.   For better or worse, like marriage used to be, the
internet has come to share our lives.

Four days of disconnect brings such high impact home.  Re-connection was like a fix. For the
collector and the dealer, the net is a formidable tool for the antique enterprise, for auction, for
buying and selling, and most importantly, for research.   Yet the net has seriously impacted the
small antique market place in several ways.

The volume and variety of merchandise available over the net is in a word, overwhelming.  You
can find almost anything.  There is a price for such virtual viewingyou cannot physically examine
an object, and the time spent searching is time not spent visiting physical shops.  If you purchase
without examination, no matter how detailed the description, you may be delighted or
disappointed.  Especially for a higher ticket item, make certain you have a right of return after


Susan Alon is proprietor of MiRIAMGREEN Antiquarian Bookshop & Gallery located in the downtown Clinton Historic district (Rt One). She is a professional appraiser, former curator and rare book librarian, and is one dealer that provides as much detail as possible-for her the research is one of the most satisfying parts.



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