If you are an antiques enthusiast, then going to your local antiques dealer or attending an auction shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for you. If you are at the opposite end of the spectrum and have very little knowledge of antiques, but have your heart set on an Art Deco engagement ring, then just even thinking about visiting your local dealer could be daunting. How will you know you are getting a fair price? How do you know the dealer hasn’t sensed your lack of experience and just trying to get the most money out of you? After all, they are in business for a reason.
When you purchase antiques, there are no rules to ensure you get a good deal. However, there are certain things you can say and do to make sure you don’t get ripped off and to get a deal you feel happy with. To start with let’s look at the difference between visiting an antiques dealer and going to an auction.
An auction is a great way for you to get a feel of what you really like. It’s worth going to several auctions first so you can have a look at the type of item you are looking for and review the variety of styles you can get the item in. Beware of the auction catalogues as these tend to show prices far lower than they will be released at but in a bid to entice more potential bidders they keep the prices low. Another factor you need to take into account when bidding is that you will have to pay a buyer’s premium, which will go to the auction house along with the current percentage of VAT. If the price is not really a concern, but the product is the exact item you adore, then auctions can be a good place to purchase as the variety is huge. It’s also not uncommon to pick up a real bargain if there isn’t too much competition about.
The Antiques Dealer
The main advantage of buying from antiques dealer is that you have the knowledge and experience of the dealer to go by when looking for your selected product. They will know a products value if it’s damaged they will also know how much restoration it needs, if any. They have a general eye for spotting products and have gained this experience through years of buying and selling. One piece of advice if you want to go to a dealer is to try visiting a local dealer, or a dealer that someone you know has bought from before. If you are considering buying an item that is of great value, then it could be worth the expense of hiring an expert to check the value to make sure you are receiving an accurate price. You have to remember that although the majority of antique dealers have a true passion and take great pride in what they do, they also have to turn over a profit.
There are plenty of other ways to look for antiques; the most popular being car boot sales and also other markets. As obvious as it may sound (this goes for visiting your antiques dealer as well) if you go swanning around with a £1000 watch and designer clothes, the chances are that the seller will try to get you to part with more money than if they were dealing with somebody who looked like an average Joe. To follow on from this, be wary of codes on items, as opposed to prices. When a customer is interested in a product that has a code, the seller will look in a catalogue, match the code then come up with a price for the item on the spot.
As with designer labels, antiques can go in and out of fashion with the flick of a switch. You could find that teak is the current fashion and that mahogany is out. This will heavily reflect prices and that teak dresser you have been eyeing up at the local antiques dealer my now suddenly have doubled in price. It’s worth finding this out yourself online or from any contacts you have in the industry because if something is in the current fashion and you don’t have much of a budget it could be worth waiting until next year when prices have sloped off.
If you follow the advice above, you should be able to minimise the risk of getting ripped off and get yourself a good deal for your purchase.