Buying and selling antiques is as much an art form as it is a business. If you’re hoping to buy antiques and then sell them on, you need to understand some principles which will save you time, money and stress later on.
In this guide to buying and selling antiques, we’ll give you some top tips that will help you learn the ropes. Remember, it’s better to learn how to buy and sell antiques before diving into the market as your enthusiasm might wane if you make a poor call on making that first purchase or selling that first item.
So, here are our 5 top tips to buying and selling antiques:
1. Keep Customers in Mind
You can certainly buy the items you like, but don’t forget about your customers along the way. As many dealers began as collectors, they start with a particular leaning towards certain objects or styles and that’s great – it means they’re enthusiastic about the items they’re looking at purchasing and selling. Yet remember that you’re operating a business and you need to be confident there’s a market for the objects you’re buying.
There’s a good balance to be achieved when buying and selling antiques – going with your gut and buying an object you love (which is within your budget) can often be a great decision because it’s easier to get excited about that item when selling it on to a customer. However, remember that someone needs to buy the object, so have a clear vision in mind of where that item may work in a customer’s home or retail setting.
2. Hunt Out Items
The best objects are only found when you hunt them out in hidden places. While there are plenty of finds to be had at antique marketplaces and auctions, they’re not the best place to look when you’re considering buying and selling antiques for profit. Often, items bought at official marketplaces and auctions are expensive and there may not be a huge profit margin in it for you.
Instead, think outside the box and spend your time exploring general markets, fairs and car boot sales. Take a look in charity shops and search online marketplaces to find bargains. Many current owners don’t understand the value of what they have on offer, and that’s where your profits will come from!
3. Beware of Fakes
It can be perilously difficult to spot fakes and, when you’re looking at how to buy and sell antiques, identifying the genuine article is important. You’ll get better at this over time but remember first to look at a piece critically and question whether there’s too little wear and tear for it to be authentic or whether it looks as though it might be a composite of more than one era.
If in doubt and your gut feeling is telling you that it might be a fake, go with your gut and step away.
4. Negotiate a Price
Pricing, especially when you’re new to the world of buying and selling antiques, can be fiendishly difficult. From the start, you need to be hitting a price point that leaves you with a profit when you sell it on, so haggling down to a better price point for you is often the only way to work.
Haggling might seem rude but it’s all part of the game! It helps to understand how other people operate – if you’re unsure about how to go about it, watch a few other interactions between sellers and buyers to get the hang of it.
5. Tell a Story
Buyers love a good story, and they’re more likely to buy an item with a story attached than one without a history. Customers like to build a connection with an object – it’s often that emotional connection which triggers the sale. The best stories can even increase the final sale price.
If you’re selling online, stories can be developed through pictures as well as text. Try and create a buying experience rather than relying simply on a transaction. When you’re ready to sell, online marketplaces like Decorative Collective can be a cost-effective way to test your skills as you enter the market for the first time.
About Decorative Collective
Decorative Collective is one of the top marketplaces to buy and sell antiques online in the UK and Europe. Since 2009, we have run a transparent website which encourages communication directly between sellers and buyers while still being on hand to help if users need our assistance. Owner Jane Walton is a dealer herself, and she knows how exciting it can be to find the perfect item and then sell it on at a perfect price point!