Archive for Antiques
Do you love antiques, vintage or retro and like to be involved with it full time? Would you like to quit the rat race or make a little money on the side? Many dream of setting up their own antiques business selling either real antiques, or vintage / retro pieces, I certainly did. These days I find myself regularly asked about becoming an antiques dealer. How do you give up the day job and trade in old stuff all day? Well now I’ve decided to let you in on a few secrets about the trade and how to deal in antiques gleaned over many years in the business.
Antiques are technically over 100 years with vintage and retro being newer but not new. For the purposes of this series of articles I will talk about antiques and the antique trade but everything here is equally applicable to selling antique, vintage and retro items unless I specifically say otherwise.
Why is the antiques business different?
The Antiques business is difficult to learn and find advice on. Stock is more difficult to obtain than simply nipping into your local wholesaler or ordering over the Internet from China. Have you noticed how most antiques dealers do not go straight from school or university into the trade?Unless you are lucky enough to have an antiques dealer for a parent it is most likely that you will have had a long career before hand. Most of the suggestions and advice given here apply no matter which branch of the antiques or vintage trade interests you. You may wish to be a general dealer, Specialise in furniture , pottery , glass, Victorian Antiques or like me in antique and vintage jewellery.
There are one or two books on the antiques trade but not many, there is no given career path. Antiques Dealer is not a job you can find a vacancy advertised very often and the trade does have a slightly doggy reputation to be overcome.
How to start your own Antiques Business
Over the coming weeks I’m going to cover all aspects of starting and running your own antiques business including:
Things to consider before starting , the different types of dealer and specialising
Organising Stock and Care and Repair
Car Boot Sales / Flea Markets. Real life Auctions, Antiques Fairs and Antique Centers. Ebay and your own Website
Packing and Posting Antiques
Money and Profit
Networking and why other dealers are important
You many notice that I have not included running your own physical shop. This is because its the one way of selling antiques I haven’t tried. If any reader with relevant experience wants to write a blog entry for me on this topic I will be happy to publish it here.
So you might be asking what qualifies me to write about becoming an antiques dealer and why I would want to do this . Let me tell you more.
Once upon a time in the last century I had what I now call a proper job. Actually in the overall scheme of the world it was a glittering career in corporate IT. I had huge responsibility for money and people and spend much of my time travelling all over Europe, living on expenses and earning a huge salary that many years later I can only dream of. Sounds glamorous and exciting? Yes I had the Corporate executive job title and perks in household name companies you will all have heard of but I wasn’t happy. I spent my weeks slaving at work and my weekends spending the salary to compensate myself for having to be miserable during the week. Sound familiar? I know there are thousands of you out there just the same.
By my early 30′s I began to realise that earning as much as I possibly could was not going to make me happy, the glittering career is not everything. I felt that it was all pointless and that I needed to get out. My hobby was antiques ( I had been fascinated by old and interesting stuff since I was about 8 years old) and antiques was what I wanted to do.
Now as I mentioned earlier becoming an antiques dealer is not something you can go on a course for or where there is a defined career path. This is something that I had to work out for myself and it took me about 12 more years before I was in the position to resign my career and make the full time leap of faith into antiques. During those 12 years I spent nearly all of my spare time working towards becoming a full time antique dealer
This series of articles will be based on the experiences of those 12 years and in the 10 years since I finally did move full time into antiques. I’m going to tell about what worked for me and what didn’t. Where I made money and where I lost it. Where time was well spent and how to waste months for no progress. You may wonder why I’m telling all this. Am I not creating my own competition? Maybe but one thing about my competition is that they are vital for my business. We need each other which is why I have dedicated a chapter to networking.
I hope you find something of interest here and if you too are thinking of entering the antiques trade do leave a comment and tell how you are getting on.
Pocket Watches, Are these unusual?
The antiques and collectibles world is vast and I challenge anyone to know about everything. Dealers tend have a broad knowledge and specialise in detail in a few areas and know next to nothing about others. In my case I have specialised in Antique and Vintage Jewellery, Ceramics and Glass. One area I have very little knowledge is clocks and watches and so I am seeking help on a couple of pocket watches that I have acquired recently. Here they are:
RNIB pocket watch. This watch has a Nickle chrome case. The front cover opens when you depress the button in the winder. The face is quite unusual as it has raised braille type dots around the face and “RNIB” ( Royal National Institute of Blind People) is printed on the dial.
The second pocket watch has a continental silver case ( stamped 0.875). When you open the front case you cane see rather a lovely dial which is cut away at the base so that you can see the workings. The dial is marked “8 jours Hebdomas” so I presume that this is a French watch. Inside the back is unusual and highly decorated it reads ” Levees Visibles Spiral Breguet” “interchangable”.
So, I would appreciate any information you may have about these old pocket watches. Thanks
These days we are all being urged to go green and save the planet. Switch off lights for earth hour, use nasty low emission light bulbs ( so very dull) , buy cars with reduced fuel consumption, recycle ( so much tedious washing of containers and tins) and reuse ( yes I’ve bought re-usable supermarket bags but I keep forgetting them). All of these “Green ” things mean giving something up or they are uncomfortable, unpleasant or at the very least inconvenient. But here’s a secret you can go green and indulge in a little luxury too.
Think about it, we who are used to handling vintage and antique items know that there is plenty of stuff available which we could incorporate into our every day life which is wonderful, stylish, not available in the shops and ( by the way) just happens to be re-cycled too. This is not your average nasty tatty re-cycled stuff you see at car boot sales, there are lots of wonderful vintage and antiques out there which are of brilliant quality, exquisite style and quite often cheaper than new too. Whats more if you buy your vintage and antiques on-line you are saving the planet a second time as on-line shopping has a lower carbon footprint than shopping in the high street.
I am not suggesting that you throw everything you own out and replace it all with antique or vintage items. You dont have to throw out your Ikea or Next furniture and replace it with nasty tatty brown stuff thats 7o years old. Just next time you need something for yourself or your home to think about if an antique or vintage item might just be be the right thing – more stylish, more unique, quite possible cheaper and greener too. Antique and Vintage items can look great in a contemporary setting, worked in with modern items to give an eclectic look and feel or select items which tone in colour to give great interest to your surroundings.
So what are these wonderful antique and vintage items which can help us save the planet? I will be taking a look at the top 10 tomorrow here on antiquesavenue antique vintage blog.
Here is a piece written for AntiquesAvenue by Graham Smith – a well respected member of the Antiques Trade :
One of the many delights of being an antiques dealer is the likelihood of customers becoming friends because of a shared passion for good or interesting articles. Now and again I come across the opportunity to buy back an item that I have sold some time in the past – it’s always a pleasure to have such items in stock again. Recently I had just such an opportunity – a good customer of mine who lives in North Yorkshire was rearranging his life style and decided to rent out his house and move into a cottage. The phrase ‘getting a quart into a pint pot’ springs to mind as this gentleman had a habit of buying items he liked regardless of whether he had space to fit them in his home! I would describe his house as Dickensian – wonderful items everywhere but still nowhere to sit because of piles of books on every chair!
When talking about antiques, we often refer to something by the era defined by the reigning monarch. For Example – Georgian or Victorian. But when does that mean exactly? Lets take a look at when each monarch reigned to help place our antiques in time.
This starts with the Georgians as we see virtually no pre-Georgian antiques today.
1714-1727 George I
1727-1760 George II
1760-1820 George III
1820-1830 George IV
1830-1837 William IV
1837-1901 Queen Victoria
1901-1910 Edward VII
1910- 1936 George V
1936 Edward VIII ( Jan to December)
1936 – 1952 George IV
1952- present Elizabeth II
Theres an interesting article on FT.com weekend pages this week all about antique lighting and chandeliers. There are candlesticks, lanterns, lamps and chandeliers both antique and 20th century modern being discussed : A heavenly glow
The picture below is a venetian glass lamp in the form of a grotesque fish dating from circa 1950s. This one is now sold and safely with it new owner but still lovely to look at