14 May 2018
If you collect, browse or are on the hunt for an antique bargain, these tips will help you find the treasure you could be looking for. Unique, traditional or quirky items can be found at auction houses, antique fairs and shops.
1. Ask questions
Start by asking questions, about how rare the item is - is it made by a notable maker/designer, or are the antique chest of drawers you are interested in good quality? Examine the pieces from every angle and ask questions: make the seller want to close the deal.
2. Trust your gut and your eye
When looking for antiques buy what you love, avoid trends and go with your gut. If you have a quirky taste, be sure what you’re looking for suits you, as you may be living with it for a while.
3. Do homework
Be sure to have knowledge of what you are looking for and possibly buying. Read up, visit collections, dealers, talk to experts at auctions. A trip to a museum showing period pieces will give you a sense of what is considered good quality. Knowing the background means you can make a better informed decision about the items you are interested in and the prices they are being sold for.
4. Go for singles
Staying clear of sets can save you money, and single chairs can go cheaply. If you have chairs of different designs, maybe keep to one colour scheme or one type of wood. The same can apply to other furniture; it can create an original twist to your living room design.
The people dealing and selling in antiques usually know their stuff, and they will be happy to barter to get their items sold to make room for more. A 10% reduction is sometimes offered.
6. Get out of town
There may be some good antique dealers in your back yard to browse through, but more often there can be bigger and better bargains in places you haven’t looked. Big cities like London and Manchester will have a wide range of places with the perfect piece just for you.
7. Trust your dealer
A good dealer knows the history behind the item, especially rarer or larger pieces like cabinets, tables or chests. They can explain any imperfections a piece may have or give the story behind it. It shows a positive attitude to be interested in the antiques you buy.
8. Enjoy the hunt and enjoy the purchase
Antiques are more personal, and collecting items that are beautiful and also usable can be a lot of fun. Antiques are meant to last and should be used as intended when they were made, whether it is a chest of drawers, dining table or gilded candelabra.