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Glamorgan Antiques Newsletter

October 2002 - Newsletter # 7

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© Glamorgan Antiques - Reproduction of these newsletters forbidden without the express permission of the Author


Welcome all to this seventh newsletter from Glamorgan antiques.We hope that it will appeal to all lovers of Antiques, whether newcomers or more experienced Collectors.Anyway, the learning process in Antiques never ends,we all get to be more experienced but we never stop learning.

In This Edition

Advice to Novice buyers of antiques and collectables

Buying from Auction Houses

Buying from Antique Dealers


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Advice to Novice buyers of antiques and collectables

Many Novice buyers of antiques and some not so novice tend to make lots of wrong moves when buying antiques from antique dealers and auction houses.(Most people buy either from Dealers or at Auction houses).We will take you through the 2 processes here, but please bear in mind that these are our opinions only and different sellers have their own rules and regulations.These are only guidelines for you to follow.

Buying from Auction Houses>

Buying from Auctions can vary so much that it would be extremely foolish of anyone to think that he or she knows all the answers just because they have purchased at one or two auctions.Firstly you can have the great and famous auctions where experience will undoubtably show, so there is no point in anyone trying to fool these sorts of people.You will be up against some of the most experienced antiques collectors and dealers in the World.These buyers have vast knowledge and many have vast pockets as well, so do start modestly and be sensible above all.Our advice is to first of all make yourself known to the procedures by sending for catalogues of up and coming sales that are offering goods that would be of interest to you.For example if you like fine porcelain, then normally all the great auction houses have sales devoted entirely to this subject.You will have to pay for the catalogues, this is usually the case,however these catalogues can be a mine of information that will serve you well over the ensuing years..Study the catalogues and note the Reserves well.Some of the reserves may be far too low, but remember you will not know whether or not you stand a chance of purchase unless you try.The up market houses have very friendly and experienced staff to help you,and you will not be looked down upon for being a new buyer..If you decide to go ahead and actually go to the auction, then please give yourself plenty of time for viewing each item, and don't be afraid to ask to handle the items carefully.Note any faults, or damage against the descriptions in the catalogue.Notice how the gilding and the actual painting - for example on ceramics - is looking after so many years.A lot depends on the age of the items, and therefore you must be sensible in not expecting absolute pristine condition on something that is 200 years old, as you will very rarely find this.You must expect to see a certain amount of wear on everything.This is why the reproduction market has soared in recent years, when buyers expect all antiques to be as they were when first made.So please be sensible and objective when looking at old objects.
Don't forget to register yourself when arriving at the auction, and you will be given a reference number, which will be yours alone if you are fortunate enough to be a succesful bidder..When the bidding starts don't fly straight in,please watch the Auctioneers carefully, they will be looking at regulars for the bids and you must therefore attract their attention for the first time.Some of the bidders will be very well known by these auctions and they have a particular way of bidding that the Auctioneer will know about.In time the auctioneer will get to know you too, but at the beginning suffice it is to say that YOU will have to attract the attention of the Auctioneer, and don't be afraid of scratching your nose or chin as these actions will not be taken as bids!! You will also probably be expected to sit at the larger auctions,and make sure you are in your seat in plenty of time before the bidding starts.You will also see telephone bidders with auction sales assistants talking them throught the actual bidding, these are people who for one reason or another cannot be at the auction but who have received the catalogues and are confident enough in that particular Auction to know that the assistants will get the best deals and advice for them during the actual sales.
In smaller auction houses, there may be a more relaxed attitude to registering and bidding, but here again the Auctioneer will look first to his regulars and you will have to catch his or her eye with your bidding action,but try not to be over the top as they will eventually notice you without you leaping up and down and shouting out! One thing the auctioneers hate is to be stopped or delayed in their "performances", so please realise that they have a difficult job to do trying to obtain the most favourable prices for their sellers and at the same time pleasing the buyers who after all are the bread and butter of that whole auction house..Also do not forget the Buyers premium.This is a fairly new premium that will be added on to your bill.For example, if the buyers premium is 10% and the item you buy will be £100 then you will also have to find another £10 on top.The more expensive the item the more you will have to pay unless you can come to some arrangement with the Auction, as some will waive charges on very expensive items.

Buying from antique dealers..

This is a completely different way of buying than at auction houses.Here you will be in direct conversation with the dealer and your actions will relate only to that dealer.Please be polite at all times.Dealers in the main are extremely hard working, they are not crooks or Jack the Lads, but are normally very honest and knowledgeable people.Their knowledge has taken many years to nurture, and any advice that they give you, then please do take it in, listen to them,as this may save you a lot of money and heartbreak in any future transactions that may ensue over the coming years.. Too many Television and films depict Antique dealers as pure slapstick comedy people, and this is an insult to the trade itself.To be standing in any large fair today costs all the dealers a lot of money,time and effort.Please do not say such silly things out loud as "well what a load of rubbish or I can't see anything I want here!" These remarks can be extremely offensive in light of the preperation that any dealer goes to before the run up to a big fair.Weeks of buying and travelling around will have been done, just looking for the right pieces that unfortunately do not drop from heaven straight into the dealers laps.All the hard work will have been done at attending auctions or contacting other dealers and making arrangments to view their stock that may entail a lot of early morning and late evening travelling.Times when you the buyers, may still be in bed or watching the television.Antique dealers work some of the longest hours and the most unsociable hours,often being in draughty old sheds and barns in the middle of Winter, rummaging through mounds of household rubbish and brica brac, just to find their buyers the right item at the right price.

When you approach a dealer, please ask first to handle the item, do not just barge in and pick the item up..There is a certain way to handle antiques, and this comes with experience, so let the dealer show you, and they will also probably let you hold the items too, but remember to BE very careful!
If you like an item, please do not try and be clever and offer half the price that is on the ticket.Firstly you have no idea how much the item cost that dealer, as remarkable as it may seen, many dealers do not have 100 % mark up as profit.Some look for a small profit and a quick turnover,especially if they are sort of dealers who constantly like to be seen as having fresh stock..So be thoughtful and try and be pleasant, explain to the dealer that you are fairly new to Antique buying but are very keen to learn and start a collection up..Some dealers you will find are more helpful than others as a natural bonding seems to take place.Other dealers may be slower to forge a link but you will gain their confidence and goodwill in time, especially if you are faithful to one particular dealer.Personalities do indeed play an awful important part with customers and sellers..If you think that you may be able to fool a dealer into thinking that you yourself are a dealer, then think again, you will not.Also please remember that by doing this and expecting dealer reductions on items, you are relinquishing any right you may have to a refund as you are telling the dealer that you know all about the trade, so be it on your own head if anything is wrong with the item.Dealers do not like refunding other dealers.They should have known better in the first place.
If you have bought well, then please do contact the dealer later to thank them.This may go a long way to your benefit in future purchases.
Good luck in your collecting but please be sensible and POLITE.

October 2002. Copyright©.Glamorgan antiques.

Reproduction of these newsletters forbidden without the express permission of the Author

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