The market has hosted the Antique fair for about one year.
The Fair consists of dealers selling all sorts of antiques, collectibles, vintage items, and memorabilia. Jewelry, glassware, ceramics, coins, old type writers, medals and flags are just a small example of what you will be able to find every month.
If you are new to this scene, we thought it may be good to share some etiquette and tips when “antiquing”.
Let’s start with the basic terms.
For an item to be classified as an antique, it has to be at least 100 years old.
A collectible is defined as anything that people collect. The age of the item does not matter unless it is classified as a vintage collectible, which means that the item has to be of at least 50 years of age.
When “Antiquing”, you may come across reproductions. A reproduction is an item created to look like the original but it has no value in the antique world.
9 Important questions to ask when buying from an antique fair.
As a “newbie” to the game, we suggest that you ask the dealer the following 9 questions in order to make sure that you get what you pay for:
How long have you been a dealer?
Do you belong to any professional organizations, like dealer associations, appraiser associations, or organizations related to specific types of merchandise?
Do you specialize in certain items? Dealers who specialize can teach you a lot about telling the difference between real antiques, reproductions, and fakes.
Do you carry reproductions? If dealers have reproductions mixed in with antiques, the reproductions should be labelled clearly. If they’re not, be careful: Some reproductions are so well done that even experts can have trouble recognizing them for what they are.
How do you know the item is genuine and not a fake or reproduction?
How did you determine the price for the item?
What criteria did you use to identify the item?
Will you guarantee the authenticity of the item in writing? If the dealer isn’t willing to give you a guarantee, don’t disqualify the purchase. Many dealers buy items without absolute certainty about their authenticity, but the price should reflect that.
What is your return policy? A reputable dealer should agree, in writing, to take back anything that was misrepresented.
11 Etiquette to observe when buying from a dealer
Most of the seasoned buyers live by the following rules. These rules may help you to get the product at the best price. As with any business transaction, the key is to be respectful towards the seller…even if they are a bit grumpy.
According to recognised expert of etiquette, Liza Mirza Grotts, there are 11 etiquette points to observe towards the seller at an antique fair.
People who sell antiques for a living often have a good deal of knowledge about their products. They are also small-business owners who have to put up with a lot. Treat them with the respect they deserve.
Making small talk with a dealer is fine, but hold your cards close to your chest. If the seller knows you’re dying to buy a specific item, you have just lost your ability to negotiate for a lower price.
Don’t ask a dealer to hold something for you unless you’re prepared to pay before you walk away. It’s not fair to ask him or her to miss a potential sale.
Don’t insult the seller by using garage-sale tactics, such as offering a few dollars for an obviously valuable article. Instead, ask if the price is firm or if there is room for negotiation.
Don’t say anything that questions the integrity of the dealer, such as, “Is this table really that old?” If you have doubts, a better way to phrase your question is, “What can you tell me about this table?”
Don’t show up at an antiques shop or booth and ask the seller to appraise an item for you. They’re not appraisers.
Don’t burn your bridges. If you feel a price is too high and the dealer won’t negotiate, just say it is out of your price range and walk away. Some dealers have “firm only” pricing.
Don’t insult the dealer by complaining about the quality of his or her merchandise. Antiques dealers know all the nicks, scratches, and flaws on the piece, and an item is normally priced to reflect any obvious flaws.
A dealer usually knows the level of demand for and the value of an item in the market. If an item doesn’t seem worth the price, don’t buy it.
If you want more information, don’t be afraid to ask about the style, provenance, age, or anything else about your purchase that piques your curiosity.
Follow the golden rule of antiquing: Buy what you like when you see it, because it may be gone when you come back.