Dealing with antiques

Some people are born to appreciate the past. They love the finer things of an earlier century, they are charmed by goods from past decades. If you find that old things "speak" to you, you may be suited to a career in antiques and collectibles.

Aesop's mirror : a love story
Maryalice Huggins.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.
Fueled with the delightfully obsessive spirit of Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief, Aesop's Mirror" follows Huggins on her quest to trace the origins of a magnificent antique mirror.
Antiques investigator
Judith Miller.
New York : DK Publishing, 2007.
From chairs to chests, ceramics to glass, and teddy bears to silverware, learn the tips expert Judith Miller uses to tell a genuine antique from a fake. An international antiques expert, Miller shows how to inspect hundreds of objects and provides all the tools, techniques and tricks to spot a bona fide antique.
How to start a home-based antiques business
by Jacquelyn Peake.
Guilford, Conn. : Globe Pequot Press, c2005.
Learn how to set up and run a successful home-based antiques business, including locating antiques, pricing, marketing, and staying profitable. Worksheets and checklists help entrepreneurs get organized and achieve their goals. #60; /div #62;

Someone who is attracted to antiques becomes an expert guide to the past, an interpreter of past customs for the rest of us. Most antique experts begin their career with this fascination of things from the past.  But how can you move from amateur who likes antiques to an expert? Developing your knowledge is key to making your way within the profession.

A good way to start building your knowledge is to see as many antiques as you can. Visit antique malls, auction houses and estate sales to develop your knowledge. Get to know names of international experts in the field and read their books. Look at each piece with a critical eye, keeping in mind standards for the time in which it was made and used.

How much is it worth?

The value of an antique or collectible depends on how many of the items are available; the condition of the item; and how much someone is willing to pay for it.

Give an appraisal

Develop a relationship with acknowledged experts in your area. Most antique dealers love to share their knowledge with enthusiastic people new to the field.  Working in estate sales and auction houses can give good experience in identification and valuation.

An experienced antique dealer with broad knowledge and a good reputation can work as an appraiser, and estate sale dealer, run a shop and/or have a traveling business in antique shows. Opportunities are many.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff