Whether you're on a mission for something so specific it might take you years to find it, or you have that moment of shopping serendipity in an unexpected place, antiquing can be both a pursuit and a surprise. And for someone who loves antiquing, nothing is more satisfying than finding a $2 curio and a priceless piece of furniture in the same place on the same day. Of course, knowing how to ask for what you like and paying the price you want to pay can make it even better. Here’s a list of 5 things you should know about antiquing so you can end up getting those priceless treasures you want -- every time.
1. Old School There are some basic names for the old stuff we buy. If you're a fan of vintage items, that means you like things that are typically less than 100 years old, but identifiable by their decade or period style, like a vintage car. Collectibles, on the other hand, are sets of like items from the same period or maker -- think collectible toys. Classics are archetypes of good design from a specific era or of a specific use. A leather riding boot, for example, is a classic. And sometimes neat items such as farming or kitchen implements of mysterious origin are not valuables or antiques, but they're just plain old and interesting nonetheless.
2. Age Is Good Antiques have a history of about 100 years -- they can be older or newer, but generally the century-old mark makes something an antique. Most items that have been around that long are documented or cataloged by type and carry value estimates based on condition. Markings from the maker or manufacturer, or just evidence of quality craftsmanship, can authenticate something. Books, Web sites and local experts have knowledge of history and values. Once familiar with a period or style, spotting a fake among the authentic becomes almost second nature -- and a fun bit of sleuthing for buyers.
3. Valuable (or Value "Bull")? While the condition of antiques impacts the values, good looking junk is still junk. If an item is valuable or authentic and well-preserved, it will show in both quality and details. Its history will be on display. If it looks great but has tags or a selling pitch including "in the style of," "influenced by" or "of the same period," it likely is a knockoff. Solid replicas are out there, but if you're looking for true antiques, ask for information about provenance.
4. Haggle Friendly While retail stores have percentage formulas for marking up products, that isn't typical of antiques sellers. Condition and comparison against like items determine pricing in the antiques or collecting world. Sellers have marked up prices for haggling and most expect it. Many even enjoy it as a friendly, fun way to talk about what they love. Haggling over something of value that seems overpriced to you is not a sign that you're "cheap." It's part of the antiquing experience to see how low you can get the dealer to go.
5. Appraise the Appraiser Good word of mouth, online presence and street level appeal draw us to great antiques shops, but the proprietor completes the antiquing experience. Even if a shop is clean and beautiful, low-quality items and pushy or condescending sellers can dampen the shopping itself. With countless stores -- some cluttered and dusty yet full of the best goods -- it isn't hard to find an enthusiastic dealer with amazing stock. What and how they sell can matter more than where they're selling. A willingness to provide detailed appraisals and original receipts (paper pedigrees of sorts) also says a lot about the deals and the dealer.
Reprinted with permission. For 5 more great antiquing tips, visit www.home.howstuffworks.com/home-decor/accessories/ 10-things-you-should-know-about-antiquing6.htm
FAVORITE LOCAL ANTIQUE STOPS
Sunday at Sandwich Antiques Show May 14 • 8am-4pm Sandwich Fairgrounds www.sundayatsandwichantiques.com
Randolph Street Market Festival Summer Season Grand Opening May 27 & 28 •10am-5pm 8 Acres of Shopping, Indoor and Outdoor with 300 + Vendors www.imagepilots.com/randolphstreetmarket/index.html
Kane County Flea Market The First Weekend of Each Month
Good Ol’ Fashioned Fun! Kane County Fairgrounds www.kanecountyfleamarket.com