Antiques dealing is usually a friendly business, with endless opportunities to find out something new, great prospects, and always that golden dream of hitting the jackpot. This month I will be able to check out the structure of the antiques game and provides some advice on the smarter ways to line up.
Every city and most towns within the land have established traders mostly making a quite decent living within the antique business.
The Skills Required
In order to understand what any given object is worth to a dealer, or a personal collector, you would like excellent knowledge of that area, and therefore the ability to see out the small print before you purchase.
Many dealers develop an “eye” for quality and sales appeal and buy all types of products, thriving on variety. this will be an enormous disadvantage.
In my view, specializing always pays off at the end of the day. Firstly, you’ll get a reputation as an expert in only a couple of years, and secondly, you’ll “plugin” to your own little network of suppliers, dealers, collectors, and specialty auctions. Thirdly, you’ll quickly learn where to travel for research.
The largest sectors of the trade, deal in furniture, art (paintings and prints), and ceramics (pottery and porcelain). Competition is fierce, and you actually must know your stuff if you would like to avoid buying stock which nobody else wants, for a few goods but unobvious reasons.
Other smaller sectors include the horologists (clocks and watches), silverware dealers, jewelers, glassware dealers, and therefore the sale of early weapons, armor, or guns. In recent years, oriental carpets have had an excellent revival, and have joined the ranks of firmly established specialties.
Then there are the mini-specialties, all of the competitive areas in their own right: dolls and nursery furnishings; pipes and smokers’ requisites; old postcards and greetings cards; buttons; small wooden articles of each description, old mechanical items from musical boxes to balance scales; lace and early clothing. War items also are in great demand.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
The antiques trade is run on very informal lines but it’s organized into armies, during which all the dealers are highly independent mercenaries.
Here are some guidelines to assist you to employ the system:
All dealers tend to hoard a number of their best finds, but the dedicated collectors are compulsively hooked into a specific area. they typically work from home, buying their stocks by placing small ads in local papers and attending house clearance sales, or auction rooms.
A collector/dealer is going to be very tight together with his or her money, and know the precise value of anything they need to shop for. If you get to understand local characters and seriously want to sell items to them, you would like to equip yourself with as many good saleroom catalogs as possible, so you recognize the worth of everything you sell to them.
Other dealers plan their year’s trading around the top-class antiques fairs and tradeshows. The more valuable their stock, the fewer sales they have to form during a year to form an honest profit. Some run shops which only open one or two days every week.
Finding top-quality stock is extremely time-consuming, in order that they all depend to some extent on runners (see below).
o ANTIQUE SHOPS
In the larger towns, there is a large array of shop-based businesses. But remember, you’re talking about larger overheads, for the shop, heating, lighting, security, theft and insurance and an assistant to carry the fort while you’re away on buying expeditions.
For this reason, I don’t recommend you to rush into shop premises until you’ve had a couple of years’ thorough grounding, but it’s a beautiful option for future expansion.
o MARKET TRADERS
There are excellent many indoor markets opening up, and maybe very prestigious affairs indeed. Other mixed markets (indoor and outdoor stalls) may look very cheerful and picturesque, but the simplest dealers there, are adequate to anyone within the country. Easier to line up, usually with an area license.
Everyone within the antique business is extremely careful about buying from strangers due to the sheer volume of stolen goods on the market.
When you’re buying you want to be prepared to enforce a reputation, address, some sort of identification, and a signed declaration to the effect that the item is that the seller’s property. If you would like to sell to shops and stall-holders you want to be prepared to offer this information as a matter of fact.
These are agents, who on behalf of shop owners, leave buying on their behalf. The knack of success is to shop for the stock at very competitive prices in order that the dealers will offer you an honest profit buying at your “trade price”, and still make an honest profit themselves.
Buying is certainly the toughest area of the antique business, and therefore the runners thrive on the challenge. They build up a little network of dealers and obtain to understand their tastes intimately
The entire antiques trade relied crucially on skilled craftsmen and ladies to repair and restore items, either at the public request or to reinforce the worth of recently acquired stock. There are some excellent businesses around supported picture restoration, clock or porcelain repair, etc.
In the furniture trade alone there are polishers, veneerers, turners, joiners, rush and cane workers, and carvers.
WAYS to start out UP
You can set yourself up as a dealer performing from home, and continue to be a runner for other dealers. goodbye as you’re careful to read abreast of the stocks you handle, and permit for all of your traveling expenses, there is a good living to be made. Always plow back your profits into better and bigger stocks.