Antiquing is a fun way to collect items from the past. They’re perfect to display on your home’s mantle. Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re browsing.
1. Expect to Negotiate Pricing
Unlike retail stores, most antique shops don’t have set prices. They determine costs based on the item’s condition and how it compares to the others. However, sellers often expect you to haggle for the final price. It can also be a fun way for the supplier to talk more about the antique.
When negotiating, find ways to relate to the seller. For example, if you’re a local customer to the shop, point this out. Also, consider asking open-ended questions which can further the discussion. You may even want to learn more about the collection beforehand.
2. Decide the Best Place to Shop
When looking for antiques you can go to a variety of locations. If you’re looking mostly to browse and just explore, heading to a flea market can make for a fun weekend trip. Many higher-end boutiques have higher prices or fewer items. Although, if you’re looking for something specific, specialty stores are the better option.
Determine where you want to go and how much you want to spend beforehand. It allows you to spend less time driving and more time exploring.
3. Find Authentic Pieces
When shopping, you want to look out for fake items. Check the piece for labels or a signature from the artist. You also can look for a maker’s mark, which includes a country of origin and manufacturer. These trademarks are commonly found on pottery, porcelain, or silverware. Museums and universities are also excellent guides for identifying different marks.
Some antiques may simply be a replica. To determine if you have found a reproduction, consider the type of material used. For example, the use of synthetic materials can be a sign that it’s fake. You can also evaluate its condition. An authentic piece will have consistent wear and tear. If you’re still unsure, consider contacting a professional appraisal service.
4. Find Quality Service
The sellers can often make or break your experience. Having a dealer who is enthusiastic and provides quality items is key. Also, look for one willing to provide in-depth appraisals and original receipts.
Before heading out, research the store and see if it has good online reviews. You can even ask your friends for recommendations. Also, consider browsing online retailers, such as Amazon.
While at the store, be sure to ask for detailed photos before buying an item. In addition, get the shipping method and cost quote. You must get all this information down in writing.
5. Learn the Lingo and Do Your Research
Understanding basic terms used by antique dealers, such as barter, can ensure you get a fair deal. You may even pick up on it the more you shop. In addition, research the history of the collection. Then when bargaining you can show that you know your stuff. Yet, you still want to let the seller talk about the historical significance first. Allowing the seller control helps you maintain a positive relationship with them.
6. Plan What You Want to Buy Ahead of Time
Make a list of items you want to add to your collection. Review the antique pieces you already have and consider what could complement them. Knowing what you what beforehand can prevent impulse purchases. You should also set a budget, so you’re not swayed by ornate decorations. A beautifully designed chair may look pretty, but you might not have room for it.
7. Look For Functional Pieces
While shopping, look for items that have a sense of charm but are still practical. Suppose you like to entertain; a tea set could be an excellent addition to your collection. Be sure you check their condition before making a final purchase. You don’t want them to become another item accumulating dust. Look for any signs of chips or cracks. Make sure it has all the vital components.
8. Splurge on Items You Adore
Sometimes non-traditional pieces can catch your eye the most. Even if a piece has less value, it’s still a worthy purchase if it stands out to you. Some items may have a story that speaks to you despite their unique appearance.
So, if you find something you love at a higher price, it may be worth the investment. You could even try to find a copy of the item at a lower cost.
9. Carefully Examine Items
Even the slightest sign of damage can lower an antique’s value. Before purchasing an item, examine it for signs of scratches or broken handles. Be sure to inspect the piece from all angles so you don’t miss any hidden flaws. If you notice any marks, you may even be able to bargain for a lower price.
10. Ask lots of Questions
If you have any questions, you should feel comfortable talking with the seller. Some things may not have all the necessary information enclosed. Have the seller ensure the authenticity of the item and ask about their return policy. Getting all the essential information is critical if you buy an item online. Some sellers may not post pictures from all angles. With all your questions answered, you’re less likely to have buyer’s remorse.
Tips For Antiquing
Collecting antiques can give you a piece of the past and a great story to tell. However, finding quality pieces can be tricky. So, keep these tips in mind during your next antiquing adventure.
Photo by Sindre Strøm from Pexels