Antique Show Tips

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There is a certain allure to going to auctions and antique shows. You never know what one person may consider trash, and what another may consider to be treasure. If you are new to antiquing or just curious to see what a show or auction has to offer, there are some antique show tips to keep in mind to help you make the most out of any antique show you attend.

There is usually an endless bounty of ‘stuff.' How do you know where to begin? First, map the floor by taking a quick overview of everything. If you are seeking something in particular, this will give you insight as to where that item is located. If you are just browsing, this will give you an idea of what is being offered, and give you an opportunity to see if something catches your eye.
antique desk
Plan for All Day. Arrive early if you are looking for a good selection; stay late for the best deals. Dealers don't want to pack up as much as they came with, so do not be afraid to jump in and make an offer at the end of the day—this is the best time to haggle and potentially get the best price.
There Could be More than One. When you go through the entire venue, be on the look-out for items that are the same. Dealers are often unaware if another vendor has the same product, and they may have the exact item or a similar one for a much better price. When attending antique shows, it is definitely in your best interest to shop around at the beginning.

Ask Questions. Investigate and be curious to what vendors are selling. Some pieces may have cool history behind them (some of the exhibitors do, too), or exhibitors may have additional merchandise of interest to you in other locations or shows. The more knowledge exhibitors have about their products, the more you will be able to evaluate if you would like to make a purchase. Be wary of vendors who give ambiguous answers, and don't have specific information. Not to say that should prevent a purchase of something that you are interested in, but you should proceed with caution. If you have mobile internet access, a little bit of research on the fly is never a bad idea.

Be Comfortable and Prepared. Check the weather forecast if you are planning to attend an outdoor show. Most shows will be held rain or shine due to the complexity of orchestrating the event. Dress appropriately for the weather on that day, including comfortable shoes. You will most likely be on your feet the majority of the time. Research the payment methods accepted at the show. Many do not accept credit card payments, so having enough cash in hand is important.

Antiquing can be a fun and exhilarating experience. Even if you are looking for a particular item, you never know what hidden treasures you may find. Keep an open mind as you shop and don't underestimate an item if it needs a little bit of polish or paint to be an addition to your home or antique collection.


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