Buying Antiques

Tips on Buying Antiques

Buying antiques or fine art can be an expensive undertaking, so how can you ensure that you are getting good value for your investment?

Do your research

If you want to be certain of getting the best price, you must be prepared to shop around.
Comparing prices for similar objects, from multiple dealers, will give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay.

Set your budget

Before buying antiques, it is a good idea to set yourself a cash limit and stick to it as closely as possible. Keep a close eye on your funds and promise yourself not to exceed them, even if you want to later.

Spotting Valuable Antiques

Know the difference between mint, excellent, and good condition.
If a dealer uses these terms online, at a store, or during an auction, you’ll have a good idea of what quality to expect.

  • Mint condition means that the piece is not cracked, chipped, or broken. This antique is in perfect condition.
  • Good condition means that the piece is in a presentable state. Antiques in good condition may have noticeable cracks or chips, and they might require repair after you buy it.
  • Excellent condition means that the piece has some minor flaws. The antique may have small chips or has been repaired over time.

Search antiques online

An online search is an excellent option to help you shape your plans.
Searching online will enable you to compare multiple dealers inventory from the comfort of your own home. Shops like Clydeon4th and BidorBuy can be visited online, and you can browse items for sale on their websites.

Visit Antique Fairs

If you prefer speaking to a dealer face to face, Many of the SA’s leading dealers will be exhibiting at our very own antique fair events . Check our fairs and events

Extra tips

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions on the piece, where it was bought, what it’s history is, its condition.
  • Use the internet to fully research each antique you are considering buying.  In particular look to see what similar items sold for.
  • An ethical dealer will give you a guarantee that the piece is original and will indicate if the object is not as advertised, is flawed in some way, or a reproduction or a fake so you know exactly what you are buying.
  • Arrive early to find the best buys. Really committed collectors will be at the fairs when the dealers are unpacking to be the first to spot that good buy.
  • Seek out specialist dealers. If you follow a particular collecting discipline, make friends with a specialist dealer who can not only source particular pieces but will also be invaluable in giving you information about your collecting discipline.
  • If starting out collecting find out who the specialist dealers are and find out as much as you can about the pieces you’re interested in – where they come from, how to spot defects and just generally make friends with those dealers – they can be invaluable in your antique quest.
  • A good antiques dealer will also give written detail on a piece – its period, whether its been restored and its price.  Make him give you a receipt with all that information on it or keep the ticket for your records, should you ever wish to sell.
  • When buying antique furniture look inside drawers for signs of extra holes where original handles and locks may have been replaced.