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Peterborough - Festival of Antiques

Beginners Guide to Antique Collecting: Buying and Selling

We look at the specifics surrounding antique buying and selling, paying particular attention to distinguishable features and things to keep an eye on when investing in this space

To define an antique, one needs to consider the value of the item. Values can be objective and subjective as they relate to certain items, so it is important to distinguish the difference between the two. Objective value relates closely to market evaluations while subjective values are more closely related to family heirlooms or items that hold personal value. Among distinguishing these differences, one must be able to distinguish the period something was struck or developed. The period of the piece is a second area that relates to the collectability and perspective value of an antique. Below we’ll go into the specifics surrounding antique buying and selling, paying particular attention to distinguishable features and things to keep an eye on when investing in this space.

Beginners Guide to Antique Collecting - Buying and Selling

Start with an Education

The most important skill an antique collector possesses is their ability to distinguish time periods apart from one another. For example, Renaissance time clocks will hold more value than a turn-of-the-century piece. The value will be held in certain features, such as clocks that host an automatic time stamp mechanism or components that make up the interworks of the piece. These features will be directly derived from the period the piece was produced. Start with looking at the different period pieces one would find in a typical home setting. Most antique value is held within the home space, leaving the education portion in this space as a direct influencer of evaluation and recognition. Take the time to look at different pictures of these objects. Pay close attention to certain finishes, types of paint used, components comprising the make-up, and other such detail attention. A piece featuring many intricate parts is held at a higher value if these parts are all intact. A basic education can factor into the discovery of a time period of a piece and will help you evaluate questionable items. The processes used to create household items in prior times is a much more complex process than today’s age. We have particular machines that mass produce these items, limiting the differentiation among devices and creations.

Attention to Detail

The craftsmanship put into a piece is a focal point for buyers and sellers alike. This reverts to the production process relating to specific time periods. Machine and hand-crafting are the two most important factors to distinguish from one another. A piece that is machine crafted does not hold as much value as a hand-crafted masterpiece. The attention to detail placed on hand-crafted items is an art form that has sense come and gone. Hand etchings, painting, assembly, and other such factors are the ones you should pay close attention to. Some of these art forms carry work that cannot be replicated or duplicated with any type of machinery, making them truly one-of-a-kind. Most hand-crafted pieces will contain some sort of defects, whether it be paint chipping, small cracks, or small surface impressions. These defects are common and are prime conditions to use for aging techniques. Reproductions come about to produce these imperfections, but they often use a trying effort that is easily recognized. Looking at the differences between elements and how they age can play a central role in determining if the details are forced or occurring in a natural sense.

Visiting Auction Houses and Museums

If you are looking for authenticity, look no further than auction houses and museums. Auction houses will hold antique fairs and auctions on a weekly or monthly basis. Depending on the area you live in, you can often find these auctions in prevalence. Attendance and observation are two key components to increasing your knowledge base. This will give you an idea for the market of particular items in the area you live. You will find which items sell and which items can be better left unbought. Museums are a second target area for the perspective buyer and seller. They are very picky about the items they will feature or take in, leaving the authenticity factor at an all-time high. Visiting these spaces will increase your knowledge base as well as heighten the desire held by certain pieces. It is good practice to search out items that museums host.

Buy from the Best

Locating items for purchase is often tough and brings authenticity measures into question. The best way to protect yourself is from buying through reputable dealers. Dealers and auction houses that carry BADA and LAPADA distinctions will greatly reduce the chance of buying a fake or reproduction. The elements represented by these certification companies carry high distinction among the antique world. Obtaining an item that carries this personal stamp will help your pieces carry value over time and create a sustainability measure that can’t be found within blind buying or selling. Similarly, it is also good practice to have your purchases appraised or certified if they do not already carry these distinctions. This will help create an evaluation that will withstand the test of time. It produces an element that your piece will carry throughout its livelihood. It can benefit both the buyer and the seller, creating a protection measure for both parties. This is a good element to use when purchasing a high-end item, but it can often benefit the lower end items as well. It creates reputation for the buyer if they are ever willing to sell and helps bring value to individual piece on the secondary market.

Know the Trends

Trending items will often cause for a premium in the antique market. At current time, decorative art pieces are at an all-time high. Hosting these pieces can create separation from the market and ultimately lead to a sound investment. These trends often carry years of existence, making them a safe investment for the foreseeable future. Obtaining a trend knowledge base is a valuable technique. It allows you to get ahead of the curve and create a supply and demand chain for success in this marketplace. This involves some additional research. Research includes dealer interaction, attending auctions, and analyzing the current market for items. These tools are often discovered at a free rate, leaving this search an option for all buyers and sellers. A simple internet search, online market sales history, or other such useful expeditions will produce a knowledge base that can be had free of charge.

Peterborough Festival of Antiques is held twice a year in Easter and September so a great way to keep up to date with prices and also talk to experienced buyers and sellers, at what has become the largest UK antiques fair, held over two days at The East of England Showground in Peterborough.