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Where to Start Collecting Antiques: Tips for Beginners


Antiques are not just old things, they are a piece of history that can tell a story. Collecting antiques is a hobby that has been enjoyed by many for centuries. If you are interested in starting your own antique collection, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. In this article, we will provide you with tips and guidance on how to start collecting antiques as a beginner.

Beautiful Victorian Silver Teapot by the Barnard Brothers
Where to Start Collecting Antiques

1: Determine What Type of Antiques You Want to Collect

The first step in starting your antique collection is to determine what type of antiques you want to collect. There are many different types of antiques, such as furniture, glassware, pottery, jewellery, and artwork. It is important to choose a type of antique that interests you the most. Start by doing some research on different types of antiques and find what catches your eye.

Once you have determined what type of antiques you want to collect, it's time to start learning about them. Go to antique stores, estate sales, and auctions to get a feel

yourself with the market. You can also read books and articles about your chosen type of antique. By doing this, you will learn what to look for, how to spot a fake, and how to determine the value of an antique.

When you first start collecting, it's important to start small. Look for items that are in good condition and affordable. It's better to have a small collection of quality items than a large collection of items that are not valuable. Plus if you do make mistakes, and you will, it's part of the learning curve, you will not be too disheartened.

Read, look, feel, examine, compare, research, I can not emphasise enough these points which will serve you well as a collector and maybe a dealer moving forward.

2: Know Where to Find Antiques

One of the most challenging parts of collecting antiques is knowing where to find them. Here are some places you can look for antiques:

- Antique Stores: Look for antique stores in your area. You can find a variety of antiques in these stores, from furniture to glassware to artwork. Many antique stores have knowledgeable staff who can help you with your collection.

- Estate Sales: Estate sales are a great place to find antiques. When someone passes away, their belongings are often sold at an estate sale. You can find a variety of items at these sales, including antiques.

- Auctions: Auctions are another great place to find antiques. You can find a variety of antiques at auctions, from furniture to jewellery to artwork. It's important to do your research before attending an auction to know what to expect and what to bid on. I have had some of my best finds at auction, especially amongst box lots. Great for buying not the best for selling in my opinion unless it is a reputable specialist auction.

- Online: There are many online marketplaces where you can find antiques, such as eBay, Selling Antiques, Etsy, and Ruby Lane. It's important to be cautious when buying antiques online and to make sure the seller has a good reputation.

- Charity Shops: These are always worth a look although these days they can often be more expensive than buying from a reputable dealer.

3: Take Care of Your Antiques

Once you start collecting antiques, it's important to take care of them to ensure they remain in good condition. Here are some tips on how to take care of your antiques:

- Keep them clean: Regularly dust and clean your antiques to keep them in good condition.

- Handle with care: When handling your antiques, be gentle and use two hands when necessary.

- Avoid direct sunlight: Sunlight can fade and damage antiques. It's best to keep them out of direct sunlight.

- Store properly: Store your antiques in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in a damp basement or attic.

Whatever area of collecting you veer towards, the most important thing is that you enjoy what you are doing. Some of the greatest collections have been formed through sheer passion for the subject, so follow your heart and your passion and you will understand the buzz of buying something special that you have not owned before.

Happy Hunting!

Suggestions for Further Reading:

- The Antiques Roadshow Primer by Carol Prisant

- Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide

- Miller's Collectables Handbook & Price Guide 2021-2022

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