Buying and selling antiques is not an easy task, but it brings not only financial benefits, but also an incredible pleasure from the process itself. Real antiquarians begin their mornings with a market scan and end the day with a night chatting with potential sellers and buyers. There are many sources to find or purchase an antique item, here is a review on the most popular ones.
Before you start buying collectables you can start with a revision of your own stocks, including your family and relatives. Almost every family owns valuable ancient items. Many of us have silver spoons, porcelain dinner sets, statuettes, jewelry, icons and other ancient things that once belonged to our ancestors. What should you look at before you buy or sell antiques? Of course, you need to check stamps and signatures. They will reveal the secrets of creation; they can name the master or the artist.
The other source is a flea market – a supplier of the majority of collectors. It is an excellent place for investment acquisitions. But buying and selling antiques there can bring a lot of surprises, both good ones and bad ones. Nowadays flea market sellers will tell you all about the antiques, they are the same knowledgeable as antique salon owners… and they are professionals in pricing.
On the other hand, the flea market is a breeding-ground for forgeries, counterfeit and just substandard antiques. Items that won’t be displayed in a decent antique shop or salon can be found in flea market.
Antique shops and pawnshops. Be friends with them, communicate, listen. If you establish a trusting relationship with them you will always have an excellent source of worthy items and, importantly, you will always have where to sell your items. Good antique shop is also a valuable source of information on the items available in the market, and what is more important antique shops value their reputation and all the items they display are genuine and authentic.
Exhibitions and salons are the sources of antiques of a high quality and, consequently, high price. Their target audience is collectors who are ready to fork out on items for their private collections or for long-term investments.
Auctions – traditional and online auctions attract collectors, antique dealers and traders of all sorts and budgets. If you are a buyer there will be 3 golden rules about purchasing at auctions:
1) check the items carefully. You buy what you see, the entire responsibility is on you, all the defects that you missed will be your problem;
2) set the primal price lower than you would pay, because you most likely won’t be able to restrict yourself from bidding more and more.
3) Be ready to add up to 20% of the item worth to pay for auction house services.
Internet trading. Perhaps the most promising and at the same time the most risky source. And here there are principles that will prevent you from making a mistake:
1) The reputation of the internet seller should be impeccable; you must check it on the reviews and read all you can find about a seller!
2) Carefully study the terms of the transaction; delivery or customs clearance of antiques may be more expensive than the item itself, and some collectables may be simply prohibited for importation.
3) Purchase by a photo is complicated due to the inability to correctly assess the size of the object and its quality. Always specify the weight and exact parameters, be sure to inquire about the material and possible defects. A bad, poor-quality, vague photo is a cause for concern. Conversely, a bona fide seller has nothing to hide, he/she will show the subject from all the sides, with macro shooting of stamps and indicating all the defects.