Antiques Dealer

Antiques Dealer


antiquesville, NY

Male, 58

I have been buying and selling antiques (and some collectibles) for over 30 yrs. started out buying and selling to help pay for college. got a degree in business admin. and worked in managerial positions for 23 yrs. but, during this 23 yr. period I kept my sanity by continuing to sell antiques in my spare time. now that I am semi-retired, I still deal in antiques - it is in my blood. I am knowledgeable in auctioning, estate sales, online sales, direct sales, and appraisals.

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63 Questions


Last Answer on January 31, 2022

Best Rated

If you buy an item that later turns out to be stolen, do you have to turn it over to the authorities even if there's no way you could have known it was stolen or had any reasons to be suspicious of the seller?

Asked by Canoodlius almost 10 years ago

the answer is yes. stolen items remain the rightful property of the owner providing that they can present proof of ownership. (receipt, photographs, etc.)

  antique dealers, and pawn shop operators, are occasionally offered items that just don't seem to fit properly with the persons trying to sell them.  experienced dealers can usually sniff a smelly seller out pretty quickly and will avoid a purchase.

the police will sometimes provide lists of stolen items to dealers and pawners to watch out for.  this also helps to avoid making a bad purchase.

Are most of your clients women? Just wondering how true the 'women love antiquing / men hate it' stereotype is lol.

Asked by bax almost 10 years ago

the gender of a dealers clients will depend on the type of items the dealer sells.  i would estimate that over the past 30+ years about 75% of my sales have been to males. 

a dealer that i know sells vintage clothing, linens, dolls, and china.  i would bet that over 95% of her sales go to females.

i do think that, in general, most men do not like to go into antique shops.  but, they may be more likely to go to auctions, yard sales, and estate sales.  just my opinion based on observation.  i'm sure that many will disagree with me on this.


You ever have one of those moments where you discover that something is way more valuable than you thought when you bought it? Or you find a rare painting underneath another unremarkable painting:)?

Asked by Davis almost 10 years ago

unfortunately, i remember several items (over the last 30+ years) that turned out to be way LESS valuable than i thought.

i guess that the closest example of surprise value happened several years ago.  i had made a deal with the local trash hauler owner to let me (for a price) dive into dumpsters whenever a 30yd. hauler was placed at an old house or estate.  one day i got a call from my connection that he had a hauler in his yard full of "stuff" that came out of an old house.  i hopped into the truck and went to check it out.  when i looked into the very full hauler, i could not believe what i saw. 

 five or six days earlier i had visited a man, from out of state, to make an offer for the contents of his deceased mothers estate. ( my offer was several thousand dollars.) he said that he was only in town for a few days, and that he would let me know after he thought about it a bit.  when he did not call, i figured that he had got a better offer from another dealer.  i did not think that he would place the entire contents of the house into a trash hauler!  furniture, pottery, jewelry, prints, toys, paintings, silver, etc. now belonged to me for the $100.00 bill i gave to the trash hauler guy.

  also, never found a rare painting under an overpaint.  although, i have heard that this does happen occasionally with paintings of the old european masters.

How can you verify that someone has the authority to sell something to you? Like even if it's not STOLEN, what if a wife sells something that belongs to her husband, and then he finds out about it and wants it back? Or does that never really happen?

Asked by Truest almost 10 years ago

with many antique items there are no receipts or proofs of ownership that the seller can provide. (this is especially true of items that are inherited)  when i go on a house call to buy, i assume that the person in posession of the item(s) is the rightful owner, and that they are dealing in good faith.  if the situation doesn't feel right, i will walk away.  experience and gut instinct come in to play here.

a few years ago i did have a husband sell me some items that his wife did not want sold.  i did sell the items back to them, and these folks are now good friends and customers.  the goodwill, positive "word of mouth", and friendship are worth far more than any profit i may have made on the items in question.


Advice for getting started in the business? Do you have a blog/website?

Asked by Erika almost 10 years ago

advice:  start small. don't give up your day job.  read and study every antiques book, and trade paper you can get your hands on.  utilize the internet as an information resource, and as a sales medium.  if you find someone who is a good source of merchandise, treat them like royalty and always keep your transactions confidential. word of mouth (especially in a small town) can make you or break you in this business.  make contact with local attorneys and real estate brokers - when a person passes away, the contents of the home often need to be liquidated. make yourself the "go to" person when this occurs.  turn your inventory. don't be afraid to sell.  cash flow is critical. ( say you buy a bookcase at a yard sale for $50.00.  you're sure that it should sell for $300.00 to the right person, but you're new to this game and don't know the right person.  now you can drive yourself crazy trying to find someone to buy it at top dollar, or you can sell it quickly to the furniture dealer down the road for $150.00.  now you've made a quick $100.00 profit (and a furniture dealer friend) that you can use to buy more saleable stuff with.  one caveat - never sell an item if you don't know what it is. do your homework, or you could end up selling your new furniture dealer friend a $3,000.00 bookcase for $150.00

the above are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. if you have any questions about a specific aspect of the business, please feel free to ask.

i don't have a blog or a website.  can't buy and sell if i am sitting at a computer too long.  (with the obvious exception of ebay and other auction sites)


Maybe it's a dumb question but have you ever been approached by someone you thought was drunk or high and trying to sell something you suspected was stolen? Or maybe that they were going to use the money to buy drugs, so you wouldn't buy it?

Asked by bighats almost 10 years ago

this does happen occasionally to antique dealers - probably more so with pawn shop operators.  to the best of my knowledge i have never bought a stolen item.  i have definitely walked away from several situations where i was suspicious of the seller. i have also passed on several opportunities where the seller just seemed too desperate to get some cash.

if a person decides to use the procedes of a sale to buy alcohol, or drugs, that is their decision and i cannot control it.  my main concern is that i am not buying a stolen item.  also, i will not buy an item if the person appears to be impaired at the time of the transaction.

Is coin-collecting still a big thing? My dad has a collection that he's really proud of (and which I think is kind of stupid.)

Asked by delclose over 9 years ago

coin collecting is as strong as ever.  I'm not sure what type of coins your dad is collecting, but higher grade gold and silver coins, bought at the right price, are solid investments (in my opinion). don't be to harsh in your judgement of your dad.   most collectors pursue their hobby as a way to relax and as something to leave their children when the time comes.  give your dad the benefit of a doubt, he just may be smarter than you think.