Bang Bang Bang. Sold!
Have you ever seen an antique auction on a TV show and thought that looked like fun? Being an antique collector can be a great hobby or even a career for the right person. Let’s find out what it takes.
Who are antique collectors?
The technical term for an antique collector is an antiquarian. That sounds very official, but the truth is you don’t have to have an advanced degree or be wealthy to get into antiques. For many people, it is just a hobby.
Maybe they enjoy doing the work of restoring and caring for antique items, or they are so into one type of item that they start collecting them. Other people create beautiful effects by decorating their home with an antique style.
How do you recognize antique collectibles?
Before you run off to the antique auction with your piece, it does help to be able to recognize the real thing. The good news is, you can get started right away.
Look all over the object for any clues as to its age.
This means looking under cabinet drawers and lids, flipping tables upside down, pulling back outfits on toys.
Look for any marks from the manufacturer.
This can often rule out modern pieces which usually have a tag.
Examine how it was made.
Saw cuts or the joints on wooden furniture can help estimate the dates. Patterns are often unique and can be used as references. The type of materials used will also be a clue as to an object’s age.
Take the information you find online or to an antique dealer.
Some websites specialize in identifying specific items. You can take a mark from a piece of pottery online and compare it to find the maker. For a book, you can search for publishing companies.
How to preserve antique objects?
One of the most common mistakes seen at an antique auction is an item that has lost its value because it wasn’t preserved properly. Here are some tips for antique collectors to follow.
Store them in the right place.
Don’t put items in direct sunlight or next to air vents and stoves. Some items like papers need to be protected from air by storing them in an airtight container.
Dust, polish and keep them clean
Many finishes can be degraded just from dust and residue that sits on the surface. Use gentle, non-chemical cleaners.
Leave the finish alone!
Do not treat the finish. The idea is to preserve it in its original condition. Any change in appearance can hurt the value. Same is true for repairing chips and cracks. Some objects look better with some age shown.
How do you become an antique dealer?
The best way to start out is to find your niche. Reflect on what appeals to your interests, fits in your finances, and seems to have a market. Gain expertise if this area. While formal education can be useful, being an antique collector can learn a lot with hands-on experience. Get out there and give it a try. The knowledge will follow.
If you go to an antique auction, be sure to be there when they bang the gavel and say, “Sold”.