The Secret Every Buyer Of Antiques Should Know

  • Added:
    Aug 11, 2014
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The Secret Every Buyer Of Antiques Should Know Photo by Patrick Burk

Walk into most antiques stores and talk to the owner and they will convey to you in so many ways that they are an expert on antiques.

Some will say that they were an antiques dealer for fifty years and seen it all. Others will wax lyrical about French antiques and name drop to impress you of their knowledge of anti-ques with suitable French accented phrases. Others will adopt a ‘put you down’ approach. They will show you an antique and ask your opinion and then belittle you on the topic which as it happens is the one area of antiques that they know well.

Contrast the antique store owner with the antiques experts on The Antiques Roadshow. Now these you may be convinced are real antiques experts. But are they? The Antiques Roadshow expert sits smugly across the table and gives a word perfect description of the antique and of its provenance and history. The television audience is suitable impressed and some of these experts have achieve legend status on TV. 

How do they know so much? Harry Houdini amazed the world with his magic but eventually all his magic was uncovered and proven to be mere tricks and illusions. Well now I can re-veal the illusion of infallible expertise. Off screen and backstage away from the public, The Antiques Roadshow has a huge travelling antiques reference library. Hundreds upon hun-dreds of reference books and online resources which are used to script the ‘expert’ and have him or her present a flawless apparently spontaneous evaluation of the antique.

Let us consider for a moment the world of spiders. There are in fact over 50,000 kinds of spiders according to Google. Do you think it would be humanly possible for one person to be an expert on all kinds of spiders? Now consider the world of antiques. There are over two million sold each week. Can one person be an expert on two million antiques or one hun-dred million in a year? The answer is obvious to you and me as it is not humanly possible to have such knowledge. Yes there are experts but in specialized niches of antiques. In fact the real expert specializes in one type of antique only. For someone to say they are an antiques expert is a sure indication that you are not talking to an expert at all.

Now you and I have arrived at this important piece of knowledge and it is this: People in the antiques industry use their so called expert status to leverage innocent people into buying expensive antiques.

Now that you know this you should never buy any antique again on the advice of an antiques ‘expert’. So when you are antiquing again and the antiques store ‘expert’ strongly re-commends an antique because he or she assures you of its rarity and exceptional value, take a step back. Keep your money in your purse or your wallet and write down all you were told by the ‘expert’. If you live local you can go home and do some desktop research or you can go online if you have a hand held internet device and check out the antique. You may find that there are now some very obvious gaps in the ‘experts’ spiel. Once you have done this a few times you are now well on the way to becoming a real expert on your chosen col-lectible which may well be Victorian replica spiders.

Author's Profile

My name is Patrick, I have collected and traded in antiques and collectibles all over the world since the early 1970's. I like to find nice french antiques for nice people. In these articles I will share with you my insights into many aspects of dealing and collecting antiques and related with antique stores.


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