Antique tips for smart shopping
Are you looking for a bargain or trying to redo your entire home? Antique stores are a great place to start. Learn how to identify and assess deals on vintage pieces. Shopping at antique stores is a great way to furnish your home in vintage style but these stores can be confusing for first time antique shoppers. Once this pandemic is over, we are all going to be itching to get out and shop. Let this guide help you before you venture out into the world of antiques.
Antiques can include everything from furniture to coins, published materials, and home décor. Sales of antiques make up about 42 percent of all used item sales in the United States. You can use a few antiques as accents in a modern home or decorate entirely with pieces from a bygone era. Here are some tips when purchasing antiques.
Know the jargon
Understand the terms that antique dealers use. By law, anything labeled as an antique must be at least 100 years old. Vintage collectibles are at least 50 years old. Other terms may not have a legal definition so watch out for things tagged with terms like collectible, retro, reproduction or old-fashioned. They may not actually be old or valuable.
Stick with a style
Identify your own needs and desires when it comes to antiques. If you’re trying to furnish an older home, decide what style would best suit the architecture. If you’re more interested in developing a collection of antiques that don’t take up much space, start researching vintage toys or collectibles small enough to display in a single cabinet or room.
Use a price guide
Learn how to use a price guide before you head to the shop. These guides can help you identify specific pieces and determine the price range in which they’re normally sold. If you are interested in collecting a specific type of item such as art deco glass pieces or 18th-century furniture, use a guide that focuses on your category of interest.
Ask the shop owner or manager if he or she specializes in particular styles or types of antiques before you start exploring the store. Also, ask if the proprietor belongs to any dealer associations or if he or she is a certified appraiser. The more knowledge and education the seller has, the more likely that person has priced the pieces appropriately.
If you notice flaws, politely ask for a discount on the piece. Not all sellers will agree, but if you point out specific reasons why the piece should cost less than a standard price guide states, you might get a bargain. If you suspect that a labeled antique is actually a reproduction, ask if the seller will give you a written guarantee of its age.
Get it in writing
Before you pay for your new antique, ask the owner about the store’s return policy. Get a written receipt that describes the item and its condition. A reputable seller should allow returns if an independent assessment determines that the item isn’t genuine.