How to buy antiques
We may be a nation of antique lovers but if you lack the knowledge, attempting to buy your first piece can send you in a tailspin. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy antique shopping but it pays to spend a little time learning the basics before hitting the mall, fair or gallery in search of your first piece of treasure.
Millennials are often viewed as the disposable furniture generation, spending as little money as possible on furniture that won’t last longer than a few years rather than having to move pieces between rental homes at the end of each tenancy. However, this age group is the most likely to have attended an antique event, suggesting that younger generations’ desire to invest in the unique rather than mass-produced items is strong. Here are a few tips in finding those treasures whether you are a millennial or an old-timer or somewhere in between.
The antique world can be intimidating if you don’t understand just how affordable antiques can be or how wonderfully they combine with contemporary art and furniture that you already have. Just one piece of antique furniture, for instance, will make even a modern setting stand out. Do your research and discover your personal taste and style. Then buy the best you can afford.
Don’t be shy
Dealers love questions. Talking and negotiating with knowledgeable antique dealers can put you at ease if you ask questions. There is no such thing as a silly question. Find dealers who are passionate and expert in their field. They love being questioned and are usually always generous with advice.
…the price tag. Pricing can seem mysterious at first but a dealer will help you understand why a certain piece has been given its price tag. Many factors affect price, from rarity, materials, and craftsmanship to current tastes and fashion. Look for pieces that appeal to you and make a wish list if you can’t afford them now.
Seek out the unique
Hunt for a designer’s “unicorn” pieces, those rare items made for one specific client, house or exhibition. Try to avoid pieces that were produced in mass quantities unless they are in the best possible condition and have the best possible resale. It also adds to the thrill of the hunt.
Remember that this is supposed to be fun. Leave enough time to shop so that you can take time to stop, have a cup of coffee and think about purchases before you actually buy. If you search too hard it can lead to frustration and no longer be fun. When decided to buy or not to buy, decide if you don’t buy will you regret it later. If the answer is no then leave it. If the answer is yes, then go for it and enjoy it.
Antique hunting doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it shouldn’t be. It should be something you enjoy and do for the sheer passion of it. When you explore your local antique stores, keep these things in mind and have fun doing it.