"Everything old is new again" could be the unofficial mantra of antique collectors and sellers. After all, antique store revenue represents 13% of all U.S. resale industry revenue, a sector that brings in an estimated $17.5 billion every year. But if you're looking to add to your growing collection or to unload some historic pieces, how can you be sure you're paying or fetching a fair price? In today's post, we'll provide a few tips for when you want to sell or buy antiques. Follow these tips and you'll be able to sell your valuables or accumulate some older pieces like a pro.
Tips for Antique Buyers
- Always Inspect and Inquire: When you buy antiques, you should be prepared to physically inspect and handle an item. This can provide you with valuable information pertaining to the condition of the piece or signs of its legitimacy. You should also make it a habit to ask the seller about any damage or signs of restoration. If you don't spot it or ask about it, the seller probably isn't obligated to be upfront about it. Gathering as much information as possible can allow you to avoid overpaying.
- Ask For a Receipt: Whether you pay with cash or with a check, you should always obtain a receipt from your purchase. The receipt should list the condition of the item, its era or age, the material(s), any restoration or damage, and its value. This can provide you with a chain of custody if you ever decide to resell the item or you want to have it professionally appraised later on.
- Buy From Reputable Sellers: This is especially important when you buy antiques online, but it can certainly apply when you go to flea markets or antique fairs, as well. You should buy antiques from sellers who have a good reputation in the community, who have positive ratings from previous buyers, and who can provide ample information about the item in question. If something seems "off" or the seller doesn't seem to know much about the piece, you may want to hold off and conduct your own research. It's possible that by taking the urgency out of the equation that you might avoid getting scammed when you buy antique jewelry or decor items.
Tips for Antique Sellers
- Perform Some Research: If you plan on selling silver or other antique products, you'll need to conduct thorough research into the origins of the piece and how much similar items are typically worth. You may actually want to get the item appraised prior to selling it, as this can give you a clearer idea of its value. Whether you sell your antiques on your own or go through a third party, you'll want to know how much you can expect to make from this sale, given the current market conditions and the condition of the piece.
- Consider Seasonal Challenges: Although there are many pieces that will retain their value regardless of when you sell, you may want to consider seasonal demand when you sell your antiques. For example, antique holiday decorations probably won't be in demand during the summer months, but you might fetch a higher price for them once customers are starting to plan for the winter season. Certain collectibles will be easier to sell (and will sell for more) when they become available during certain times of the year. Consider the timing before you try to sell.
- Work With a Dealer: Selling antiques yourself can be a huge challenge, especially when you have limited experience and very few industry connections. That's why many people opt to sell their antiques to a reputable dealer or someone who specialized in antique sales. This can be a good way to alleviate stress while making sure you get a fair price for these items. Instead of having to sell the item far below market value or simply donating it just to make room in your home, you can sell it to someone who is passionate about antiques and will ensure that it will eventually go to someone who's thrilled to have it as part of their collection.
Whether you want to sell or to buy antiques, we're here to assist you. For more information, please contact us today.