Shopping for antiques: tips and tricks
If you have ever watched an episode of Bargain Hunt, you will have an idea of the plethora of vintage treasures waiting to be uncovered in dusty corners of antique shops and at the bottom of boxes at auction houses; however, delving into the depths of antiques shops can be daunting, as they are usually packed to the rafters and you never quite know what you will find. If you have been considering investing a unique piece for your home, here are a few tips to ensure your antique hunting trip is an enjoyable one.
Visiting a vintage fair or a flea market can be a lot of fun, even if you don’t have something specific in mind; however, if you do know exactly what type of object your space is missing, doing some research is always a good idea. If your heart is set on investing in a true antique, learning about the techniques and materials used during this period will help you to find an authentic piece rather than a reproduction. Consider whether there is a certain style that appeals to you and don’t forget to take a few measurements so that you know how much space you have available. It is also a good idea to go with a fixed budget in mind to ensure you don’t get carried away.
If you like it, buy it
If you fall in love with something, you have the space for it and it is within your budget, it is best to trust your instincts and buy it. There is a reason you are drawn to it and if you don’t buy it, someone else will.
Don't be afraid to negotiate
It may feel awkward to negotiate, but remember that dealers expect to haggle over price! Think about how much you are willing to pay for something and if the price is too high, don't be afraid to walk away. Remember that true one-of-a-kind pieces are few and far between; however, if it is meant to be, you are likely to find another one within your budget.
Have a little patience
Patience is a virtue and it could be worth going back to the dealer at the end of the day. If they still have the piece you were interested in, they may end up accepting your offer to avoid having to transport it back with them.
Most dealers will have built up a lot of connections in the industry over the years. If they don’t have a piece that meets your requirements, they may be able to direct you to someone who could have exactly what you are looking for.
If you enjoy looking for antiques from the comfort of your own home, eBay and Etsy can be real treasure troves; however, this will take up a lot of time with so many listings. Also, look out for local auction houses that allow you to bid online. It is best to at least try to make it to the viewing day so that you can see the pieces in person; however, if you can't make it on the day of the auction, bidding online is the next best thing.
Dealers will often charge a premium for a complete set. Taking chairs as an example, a set of eight is going to cost considerably more than if you were to buy eight individually. You could either choose a popular chair and slowly build up your collection, or use the opportunity to buy a mixture of different designs for an eclectic dining experience. In the world of antiques, the options are almost endless.
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