Antique dealers must invest in a solid education to chart a lasting business
Why should you be different from any other person searching for success in a chosen field? When you see a doctor who has risen to the pinnacle of his profession, you say “He must have put in many hours studying to get to where he is,” right? It is no different with antique and collectible dealers.
Today, there are names you recognize that stand out in the antique and collectible community and you can be sure they have served their time at the library, at auctions and with their noses buried in reference books. Yes, an individual might happen upon a treasure by accident, but his continued success will be questionable if he doesn’t have a passion for educating himself.
There is nothing that trains future antique dealers better than having hands on experience of seeing, feeling and examining pieces of quality within the antique field. Your question should be “Where can I get that experience?”
First, there are many museums that feature the best of the best, such as the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y. There you will be able to view some of the most fantastic glass items ever created by the world’s best glass artists. No, you might not get to touch or examine them, but their quality will be etched in your mind forever.
There are art museums in almost every state that feature items that are associated with that state’s history, such as the Cody Museum in Cody, Wy., that displays items from the Old West. If pottery is your preference, the Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati might be your cup of tea. There you will see the best Rookwood pottery that was ever created. Take the opportunity to view the best of the best in these museums where items have been collected just for your pleasure.
But to gain that education that will propel you to the top in the field you have chosen, you must have more than one source, so where else should you be looking?
Today, the Internet may very well be the greatest opportunity for you to gain the knowledge you will need to compete at the upper levels of our chosen profession.
If you don’t know where to look for that information it might seem overwhelming at first but, believe me, the Internet is your best friend and you should use it frequently.
The number one place to look on the net is eBay, but why is that a fair statement? First, eBay is the largest presence on the Net for antiques and collectibles. You can find millions of items listed there. Second, they have completed auction records for almost anything that you can imagine so you can check prices, and third, you can use them to sell your items, which will give you real time experience in marketing. There are people who criticize eBay, but I think everyone in the business of antiques and collectibles owes them a debt of gratitude.
When I was beginning to search for information, I went to the antique shows to learn.
Most dealers at these shows are friendly and willing to answer your questions, no matter how simple they may seem. I spent hours at shows going from one dealer to another asking questions. How I didn’t try the patience of the dealers I don’t know, but if I did, they hid it well. There really isn’t another place you can find as many quality rare and unusual items as there are at these shows and that is what you are looking for, the rare and unusual items of quality.
Now is the time for you to test the knowledge that you have obtained by going shopping at garage and house sales. At first it will feel difficult to separate the good from the bad at these sales, but as you see more and more, it will become much easier. You will be able to complete a sale in a matter of minutes and if there is something worth buying, it will be in your bag quickly.
Last, but not least, is the time you must spend at auctions watching things sell. At first you might sit for four to six hours at an auction and not even issue a first bid. But later you will appreciate the knowledge you received from those many hours of watching. Auctions are real time events while price guides are yesterday’s news.
Knowledge will set you free.
You will be assured that no one else will be in control of your destiny. With knowledge, you will never fear being fired or working at a job you hate. You will associate with people you admire and trust, which is more than most people can say.
Investment in knowledge at an early age will provide a way of living in your latter years that will bring you joy and peace. ?
Daryle Lambert, with more than 45 years of experience in the antiques and fine art communities, is the founder of the Daryle Lambert Antiques and Collectibles Club. He is also the author of “31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques and Collectibles” and blogs daily on his website www.darylelambert.com, where he may be reached.
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