Buy and Sell With Interest
When you visit an antique store, you're most likely drawn to one type of thing-crystal, furniture, or china, for example. These items hold your interest, and it is most exciting when you acquire something that you actually want. The fact that it may increase in value is a bonus for antique items. Collect what you love. This is the primary rule for collecting antiques.
Technically, an antique is at least a century old. However, many stores dealing in antiques include vintage items ranging from clothing to records to artsy furniture.
Buying From Antique Stores
Remember that stores are businesses, and businesses exist to make money. A successful store owner fully understands the value of his or her wares, and specialty shops like antique stores are no exception. Assume the store owner or employee is more knowledgeable than you about most items in the store. Understand that you will usually find highly priced items in stores.
Learn to Haggle
Haggling, or compromising on a price with a seller, is perfectly acceptable in the antique store setting. If you are armed with the proper information and have a keen eye, you can justify your request for a lower price. For example, if an antique book jacket is worn, it decreases the value or a china cabinet has a scratch in the wood. These are acceptable means for haggling. Ideally, haggling does not involve the buyer and seller trying to cheat one another, but there is an understanding in most collectibles stores that prices are negotiable. If you don't want to seem rude or serious, try saying that you are looking for a similar item, but you were hoping to find it at a lower price. Expect less flexibility than you would find at a flea market, but know that it is okay to make a lower offer.
Selling to Antique Dealers
If you attempt to sell an item to an antique dealer, he or she will likely ask for a price lower than you offer. A skilled dealer will attempt to assess how much you know about the item you are selling before making an offer. Most store owners can still make a profit by being fair, but you should learn a bit about your item independently before trying to sell it to a dealer to ensure you get the best price possible.
Do Your Research
Invest in a guide or at least perform an online auction search to determine the fair market value for any item you are looking to buy or sell. If you are armed with the appropriate information, you can make an informed decision when you shop. Do not hesitate to print out a closed online auction (including final sale value) as an example. Many websites are dedicated to the general pricing of specific types of antiques, such as Waterford crystal or a specific artist's paintings. Be sure to utilize these web resources to your advantage.
Condition of Items
Note the condition of an item before purchasing it. It is crucial to understand how the condition affects the value the items you're interested in. Condition is particularly important in determining the value of antique furniture and books, for example, but it also plays a large role in all antique pricing.
Become an Expert
Don't be shy about what you enjoy! Become a full-fledged expert on what you love to collect. The more you know, the more fun you will have collecting and the more profit you will make in buying and selling your items.
Antique stores typically do more than just buy and sell items of value. Many stores offer appraisal and auction listing services for a small fee. If you are a complete novice, have two appraisals done on an item before selling it.
Looking for a Specific Item?
Shopping or browsing in antique stores is fun and a great way to learn about your favorite collectibles. If you are looking for a specific item, or type of item, let the antique dealers know. When they are visiting other shops, or attending auctions or flea markets they generally will try to locate the item for you.