Whether you are a seasoned antique dealer, an antique lover, or someone considering becoming an antique dealer, buying antiques is at the top of the list of being successful. As a dealer, you learn that you make your money in the buying more than in the selling. If you are an antique lover you want to be able to find what you are looking for at the best possible price.
Having been in the antiques business for over twenty-five years, I am going to give the insiders views of how and where to buy antiques. You might ask, “Who are you?” and why should I listen to you. Here is a brief resume of me and my wife’s experience in the antiques business. We bought our first antiques at an antique auction and had so much fun we started going on a regular basis, and kept buying things because they seemed like a good deal. We noticed that many of the people were regulars. After having a garage sale and making pretty good money on what we bought, we asked someone who worked at the auction house, “Where are these people selling their things?” He gave us two or three places where people were selling their antiques from the auction.
This was before antique malls, at least in Texas. So we set up in a weekend flea market that was located inside a closed down shopping mall. Later we became full time dealers and also ran a refinishing business. We started in a small shop and eventually moved into a 12,000 feet warehouse/shop. We started importing our own containers from England in 1991 and later started taking people on buying trips to England. Along the way we also sold at shows and online. Finally we opened an antiques mall in a high income area of Dallas. So we have had experiences selling everything from garage sale finds to fine period pieces costing thousands of dollars.
I may seem to concentrate on antique dealers, rather than just collectors, but please remember if you can learn where and how the dealers buy, it will certainly benefit you. The most fun of being an antique dealer is the fun of buying antiques. We love the thrill of the hunt. Even though most antiques dealers love their customers, most would prefer to be pickers or wholesale sellers, where we could quickly sell our merchandise and get back to buying. But unfortunately, unless you are independently wealthy, and can just keep on buying, there is the necessary evil of having to sell our things to get more “seed” money so we can go buy more. I have seen antique dealers who would qualify for those “hoarder” shows. They have things stacked in their home, warehouse, garage, and anywhere else they can stack things.
And whether you are a beginner or seasoned professional, we ALL make mistakes in our buying. We get in a hurry and don’t check something out closely enough, and a mistake is made. Then , as an antique dealer, we sometimes buy things that for whatever reason, we seem to be the only person that liked what we bought. And I will cover this more in the selling section, but what can cause someone to fail in the antiques business quicker than anything is how you handle the mistakes, and things no one seems to want.
I will be covering where I think are the best places to shop for antiques and the pros and cons of each. I will also talk about the many different things you can buy, and if you are a dealer, what you should consider buying. I will go into great detail about why I love buying antiques in England, and why it is my favorite. I will even tell you where we took people on our buying trips, a real insiders view. I could write an eBook on this and charge $47 for it and if you are an antiques lover, it could be the best $47 you ever spent (I still might do this). We spent a lot of money and traveled many miles to discover that information. Our clients paid a lot of money for us to take them to these places and handle their purchases. And I might add, that most of our customers came on multiple trips with us.
I think you will find the information on this site very informative. I will also try to make it enjoyable. I am passionate about my antiques. Even when we are on vacation, we want it to be where we can do some shopping for antiques. I encourage you to use our contact form and let me know what else you would like me to write about on the site. Fell free to leave any other feedback on how I might improve the site. Remember, this is not the finished product. I will be adding content weekly. My goal on this site is to pass along our years of experience, and at the very least make your learning curve shorter. If you are a collector, I hope you will learn more about where and how to buy antiques. If you are an antiques dealer, I hope the information here will help you succeed at what ever level you choose to undertake. But most of all, I want you to enjoy buying antiques as much as we do.