How to Buy Antiques

Hunting for antiques can be very challenging at times but fun. The ability to hold a 100-year-old item under your possession is equal to time-traveling, making it a worthy-of-trying experience.
Whether you’re a collector, a merchant, or just kicking it off, the below is your guide to buying antiques.

Things to Consider When Looking for Antiques

Regardless of your intention behind buying antiques (e.g., keeping, reselling, gifting, etc.), there’re everyday things to consider before making a final decision.

Your Knowledge

Educating yourself about antiques or whatever else you’re buying remains a crucial process. It’ll pave the way for you, making it easier to decide whether to pick or pass. So a logical question to propose is what antiques are.
As the custom goes in many countries, an item should be at least 100 years old to be deemed an antique. Of course, reasonably, the older an antique is, the more valuable it will be, but what else affects antiques’ worth?


Carefully inspecting any antique’s condition before buying is a prudent decision. If it has cracks, stains, chips, etc., it might be less valuable, even if you can repair it.
However, such drawbacks can be proof of an item’s antiquity. So bear that in mind. On the other hand, if it’s in mint condition, that should raise a red flag to further examine your piece.


Thinking about eras and their unique styles, we’ll have to consider the type of collection. For example, furniture dating back to the 19th century is highly pursued because of its elegant style.
Knowing the various styles of different periods should aid you in evaluating a piece’s originality and age, thus its value. Plus, a general era like the Victorian one (1830-1890) with its ornate styles should make you cautious of the numerous reproductions out there.


The Qing Dynasty Vase was auctioned and sold for $19 million. Besides its purity and beauty, it got this heavy price tag because it’s exceptionally rare. So how can we identify an item’s rarity?
It should be easy to get as much information as you need about an antique with today's technology. You can simply upload a picture of the desired piece to google image search or even to a group of antique lovers.

Telltale Signs

Almost all artists and craftsmen imprint a mark or a signature on their creations, which tells a lot about a piece of art. You can read a guide on how to spot and understand these signs; Kovels’ New Dictionary of Marks for Pottery and Porcelain by Terry Kovel is a great book to start with.

Your Budget

Knowing how much you’re willing to spend is a critical factor that’ll save you energy and time, for the marketplace is full of options that can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan.
In the world of antiques, haggling is constantly expected, so feel free to negotiate the dealer’s price. If you’d like to grow your negotiation skills, you might want to examine videos on Youtube for that concern or read You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen.

Your interests

Are you looking for antique furniture, paintings, books, or maybe monopoly boards? Recognizing exactly what you’re interested in will assist you in narrowing down your search radius. Interests can be a specific type of antiques, love for an era, or even a tight budget.

Where to Buy Antiques

Now that you have all the knowledge that you need and know for sure what you desire, here comes the fundamental question: Where can we find antiques? The following is a list of diverse ways that you can obtain antiques through.

Live Auctions

The best way to learn is to learn from the best. Auctions are not only a place where you can find treasures but also gain lots of experience merely watching and socializing with other antique enthusiasts. There are two types of auctions:


You might want to navigate websites like or and bid online.
  • Save time, energy, and money because there’s no need to travel.
  • Give you enough time to thoroughly do your research.
  • Allow you to easily compare the price.
  • Most platforms are easy to use.
  • Shipping fees
  • Images of the products can be misleading.


Live auctions are typically announced through newspapers, advertisements, or social media. Currently, attending an auction requires you to pre-register online to be able to place bids. Here are some tips for you to consider when participating in an auction:
  • Make sure to arrive early to look closely and test items’ authenticity. (Don’t fall for reproductions.)
  • Take notes and use your cellphone to collect and gather information.
  • Be patient and take your time; you don’t want to get caught up in action.
  • Make friends with auctioneers and participants and exchange knowledge.

Antiques Shops

You can shop for antiques online (e.g., eBay, Amazon, etc.), or you can pay a visit to an antique store. Either or, you’ll need to ask the seller some questions about the piece that you’re interested in. They might know about its history or age, in that case. They probably know what it’s worth.
Otherwise, do your research, and it might turn out to be the best deal you ever made. You also don’t want to miss out on brief discounts and sales, so keep your eyes open by exchanging numbers with store dealers or subscribing to newsletters of online stores.

Flea Markets

Chances are, you’re not always going to find antiques in a flea market because they mostly have imported goods; however, it won’t hurt to have a look. It might turn out to be your happy day.

Garage Sales

As the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s income. Never hesitate to stop, check the items, and have a little chat with the hosts. People don’t usually appreciate old stuff or perceive what it’s worth, but you may have an eye for it.

Antique Shows

What you need to know about antique shows is that they usually cost an arm and a leg, so leave those at home. However, you might find a rare item at a reasonable price, especially if the dealer doesn’t know much about it.

Estate Sales

If an estate sale is held by a family, it’s a significant indication of a great price, but if it’s a company auctioning an estate, they probably know the exact value of every piece. As days of auctioning go by, the price of the unsold pieces goes down gradually, so there is no need to rush.


Buying antiques is different from buying anything else. It requires research and a love for adventures, which makes it a hobby for some, yet a very profitable one.
You may have heard of something called Dead Stock; it means those antiques that were never sold for a long time, meaning they sat there waiting for someone to bring them back to life.
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