Becoming an antiques dealer may sound like a simple way to make money initially, especially if you have just been reading about an item that was discovered and bought for $2 – only to be sold for an absolute fortune when it turned out to be a rare antique. However, there is much to be learned about the antiques trade along with developing an eye for pieces.
Increase your knowledge
Whether you want to collect antiques as a hobby or to turn it into a business, you require an initial interest. This interest will develop into a passion, and may become all absorbing as you learn more. So that you can develop an ‘eye’ for antiques, you will have to study. Read books and magazines to learn about various objects, so that you learn to spot the fakes from a genuine antique. You should expect the studying to take years, visiting museums and talking to experienced antique dealers. Ask as many questions as you can about different items. Ideally, you will be mentored by a professional antiques dealer.
Should you specialize?
It will be virtually impossible to learn all there is to know about every category of antique. Consider which discipline is your personal favourite, and concentrate on discovering more about that particular topic. If you love furniture, work hard to find out more about particular pieces and the originating period. You may be interested in multiple eras, or could just specialize in one area. In addition to learning the practicalities about antiques, whether furniture, clocks, or other items, learn to question what you see. Is the item pleasing to the eye? Is it made of quality material, and are there any identifying marks or clues to the item’s age, who made the item, and the originating period? If you are choosing an item for yourself and are considering its aesthetic qualities, you may find that you have made a good investment. Antiques can prove to give a better return on investment than an investment policy.
Learn to make a profit
Once you have decided that antiques are definitely for you, there are other factors to consider. Although you will probably read about items that are bought for a few dollars actually being rare antiques and sold for thousands, this is incredibly unusual. You may spend your days trawling through antiques fairs, flea markets, yard sales, and auctions, looking for items which could have some value. If you love this activity, it may not be such hard work, but if you want to turn this into a business, consider how many hours you spend each day and how much profit you make on each item discovered. From this, you can calculate your hourly pay rate. You must also consider that the items you select may not sell at all, which could affect your cash flow. Other overheads that have to be considered are fuel costs, the cost of business premises, rates, insurance, and more.
Things to consider before you leap
Initially, you may start out buying and selling smaller items that don’t have a significant value. Learn as you are working, continue to read as many books as you can, and visit antique trader fairs so that you become familiar with the world of antiques. Start off with a home-based business before deciding to rent or lease premises. Consider the initial investment, as it could be a long time before you make a sale. Advice from a professional is definitely recommended before starting your own antiques business. Once you have experience and know exactly what you are looking for, you will become successful. Take your time to learn from someone who is experienced, consider the initial investment, and be patient.
Author Bio: Mark Jones works for Christian Davies Antiques, an antiques dealer situated in Preston, UK. As a member of LAPADA, Christian Davies Antiques has a team of experts with years of experience in the trade and holds an ever changing stock of items sourced from all over the UK, including Victorian dining chairs, Arts & Crafts furniture and items from the Art Deco era. The company also offers its clients access to professional restoration and upholstery services.