Secrets and Tips To Help You To Be A Successful Antique Dealer.


Tips To Successfully Buy Antiques and Collectables.

I am always asked how come when I go to a car boot sale I never fail to find some amazing items for what the quizzer feels is a cheap price, yet when they go all they see are toys and clothes, etc.

A car boot sale is no different from a yard sale, flea market, or antique fair. My tips will help you buy at any event worldwide.

My First Tip Would Be – Do Not Specialise In A Single Subject!

There is nothing wrong whatsoever with being a specialist in any particular field. If you are a specialist, let’s say for example in silver, Then you will have a greater advantage over anyone else at the sale. What this will mean is you will be able to point out the rare makers and the unusual assay marks or years etc. And when it comes to selling a specialist can achieve more money for an item.  

However, if all you want is silver and you go to a garage sale, car boot sale, or any event and there is no silver that meets your standards then the only option is to go home empty-handed.

However, if you’re like me a general dealer you can still buy the silver and use your gut and knowledge. However where there may be no silver you can move on to maybe porcelain or glass, and the same principle will apply no matter what the specialist subject or what you end up buying.

I have seen myself go to a car boot sale to buy coins and come home with enamel signs and crystal glass. Open your mind and options and your success will grow.

My Second Tip, Don’t Be Afraid To Spend Money!

This is so important, we have all heard the saying that money makes money, or it takes money to make money. This saying is so true when it comes to the antique world.

I see dealers picking things up in front of me all the time and running away because of the price. I am going to give you an example that I filmed in my youtube videos last year.

I was at Bessemer road car boot sale in Cardiff UK, I walked up to a stall and I noticed a man looking at a leather Gladstone bag, the type doctors used to use. The dealer quoted a price of £50 and continued to say that it was the best example he had ever seen. The dealer who was holding the bag very promptly put it down and walked off muttering to themselves at the price.

I didn’t hesitate to hand over the £50 asking price which is approx $75 dollars, I took the bag home, and applied some beeswax. Within five weeks I sold the bag to a lady who was a professional buyer for weather clients for over ten times what I paid. 

They were going to use the bag as an overnight bag and she had been ordered to find the best example she could, and that was mine.

Tip Three, Don’t Worry What People Are Making Off You!

Too many people worry about how much someone is either making off you on a purchase price or worry how much you will make off them when you come to sell the item.

This really shouldn’t matter to anyone. In order to be an effective buyer, you need to concern yourself with one thing and only one thing. Can you make a profit? 

if you break it down then you need to ask yourself, Is the item good enough for the price asked? Will the item and purchase price allow you to make a good profit when you sell it after costs?

What the seller has paid, makes no difference,  if we use the example from above then It shouldn’t matter to you if the seller paid £1 or £40, 

  1. You have no idea how hard that dealer had to work to find that item. 
  2. You don’t know how many sales they had to go to in order to finally buy an item, they could have gone to loads of sales and bought nothing. 
  3. How many years has it taken that dealer to learn the knowledge to find that item?
  4. You also have to be in the right place at the right time, that dealer may have bought that item from another side of the country, somewhere you never go, and brought it to you.

A dealer deserves their profit regardless of what they paid for an item, if it’s a fair asking price for what the item is worth, that should be enough for you.

Tip Four. Build Relationships With Other Dealers?

I am going to be as honest as I can be here. I don’t always know what I am buying when I am at a sale!

I have contacts at every car boot sale and flea market I go to. I head straight for these dealers when I arrive to check out their stock. 

If you have five contacts that you truly trust and deal with regularly, that means you have the combined knowledge of those five dealers and your own knowledge. 

What this then means is your options are massive, for example, Richard may know Studio pottery, Gary may know silver, Steve may know toys etc. 

Each dealer will offer you the best of what they got on offer. If you trust this dealer then you can utilize their knowledge and take their word that something is rare, NOT fake, and most importantly worth the money.

There have been countless times I have bought items off my contacts only to research the item when I get home and realize just how good they are. 

My contacts will have each gone to separate sales, maybe one went to auction, another bought privately, or a car boot sale on the other side of the country.

I have only had to drive to my local car boot sale and I get to cherry-pick the very best of what they have to offer, no hundreds of hours of work, No hundreds of miles of driving, Everything in one place at one time for me.

Plan Your Day/Trip

While it may sound silly when I say plan your day because you already know where you’re going when you are off to a car boot sale.

What I actually mean is more plan for failure in order to achieve success. 

What I mean by this is, You may have a car boot sale visit planned, try and look for other places you can go afterward.

Maybe there is more than one car boot sale at that time. If there are no other car boot sales you can visit, run a search, and locate an antique shop or even charity shop on your way home. 

The key is the more venues you can visit the more chance you have of finding something great. 

Useful Videos I Have Created To Help You Be Successful.

I have a youtube channel where I create how-to videos and Show my hauls ( what I buy ) and the treasures I find. below are just a few links to some of these that I think may help you.

I have only added a couple of links however if you would like to visit my full playlist of films designed to help you as a dealer please use this link.

Table of Contents

Antiques Arena Helping You With Your Passion

Regular uploads of How To and Exciting Content