I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an antique expert. I have to do a lot of research when I write my Trinket Tuesday posts to figure out where things come from and how much they’re worth. However, through my years of antiquing and reading up on valuables, I’ve picked up some tricks and tips on how to antique!
- Where to shop – There are probably more antiquing opportunities in your area than you even realize! A lot of antique shops aren’t listed online because…well…they’re old fashioned! Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find out about antique stores in your area.
Besides antique shops, check to see if your area has any antique shows or fairs. These shows and fairs are often traveling and stop in a new area each weekend. Some dealers work at these shows as a living, while others do it for a hobby — and you can often get a great deal from the hobbyists!
Check newspaper listings for estate sales, auctions, and garage sales that advertise antiques specifically.
- The hunt — It’s a lot more fun to go antiquing if you have something to hunt for. It may be something that you collect like depression glass, buttons, or Occupied Japan ware. Or, it may be something that you want for your home. For instance, Chris and I hunted for our tea cart/bar cart for a long time, which made antiquing even more fun!
- Know what’s up — A lot of what’s sold at “antique” stores isn’t antique. The general rule of thumb is that an antique is something that’s at least 100 years old. Newer items — midcentury, for example — are vintage or collectibles, rather than antiques. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t buy them, but don’t let them fool you into thinking you’re buying an “antique.”
- Don’t get cheated — Again, a lot of antique stores sell things that aren’t antiques. And sometimes things are priced unfairly. Be wary of reproductions, and if you decide you want to start collecting something in particular, read up on how to detect fakes. Also before spending your hard-earned cash, check to make sure you’re buying something of worth. Check everything for damage: chips, cracks, glued on pieces, missing pieces, not matching pieces, etc. Also be aware that items that are “upcycled” lose a lot of value when they’re painted, reupholstered, reframed, etc. If you like the look of something that’s upcycled, go for it, but remember that a piece of furniture’s original state is more valuable, from a collecting standpoint.
- Haggle — If you fall in love with something that’s out of your price range, it’s worth a shot to see if the dealer will come down in price. This might not be possible at an antique mall that has lots of booths that dealers rent — because the dealers themselves aren’t there to negotiate a price. However, at an antique store that’s run by one or a couple people, shows, fairs, and sales, there’s always the chance that the seller will go lower to make a sale!