Things that, as an antique dealer, I loathe and love.
First, at the very tip top of my loathe list, is that dealer at the garage sale just ahead of me, the one who grabbed that awesome treasure I spotted from the curb, and is now in the process of bullying the homeowner into lowering the price.
It took me a lot of years to realize that, yes, I have the right to buy an item at fifty cents that I think may be worth more. I have spent 35 years learning about antiques and that buys me the ability to know that an item may be worth more than is being asked for it. I am not stealing when I do this. Anyone else has the right to spend the same amount of time learning what I have learned and utilizing the knowledge.
I will not, however, stand by and watch another dealer bully someone into a lower price when the item is already worth ten times the cost. I will step in and offer to pay the full price, whether I actually want the item or not. Be fair gentle dealers. It is only right. I will ask someone if they will take less, particularly on an item I’m not sure I can move quickly or that I don’t have the fundage for at this time. But I will be respectful if they say no and wish them a good day. Be fair. Be nice.
Second on my loathe list is the online auction dealer who, upon discovering I have an item that is actually getting bids, puts up a similar item, and ends their dad blasted auction before mine. It is the equivalent of stealing the wind out of my sails and it is truly bad business. First off, neither of us is going to get the top amount we could have gotten. Both of our items will suffer by comparison by appearing ‘common.’ Secondly, if your item is a better example than my item, you are served so much better by waiting until I get the most I can out of it. You’ll pick up the bidders who were excited by my auction and they will be expecting to pay more. You may even pick up the bidder who won my item, as now they are interested in adding to the collection. As dealers, it is really wrong to participate in ‘bid sniping.’ It doesn’t help any of us.
Third Loathe. If you are helping the auctioneer at an auction, you cannot ALWAYS be the first person to bid on an item. I understand that everyone who works at an auction house has a bidder card and has the right to bid on the items. This is fair as many auctioneers and assistants have their own antique sidelines. I can live with that. However, if the assistants frequently take the opening bid, that is the equivalent of shilling – it raises the prices and it often costs me the item I have been waiting for. It also costs the auctioneer a customer as I will not return. In our area we have someone who assists at different auctions – a lot. He consistently takes the opening bid. I will not stay at an auction he is working. Period.
Finally…what I absolutely love the most about being an antique dealer…..other antique dealers!
I know, it sounds like just the opposite of what I’ve been saying, but for every one dealer who practices what I loathe, there are a hundred who stand beside me.
There is no other industry where every truly successful person you meet has these qualities: They care, they share, and they are there for you. They care about the items. They care about each other. They care about and for the customers. I know of very few communities where you can be in direct competition and still willingly, joyfully, share every bit of knowledge you can with one another. We’re a little bit crazy that way.
Join me on twitter. Check out the people I converse with. Meet AneD, RedAntiques, Norbridge, MacQuid,thevintagelist, and so many others. Follow the people I follow. Ask a question. Post a twitpic and see how many people will reach out to help you find what you have! Watch us drum up sales for each other. We commiserate together and work together to bring the customers more information and better products. We celebrate each other’s sales and wish for better May’s than April’s and better June’s than May’s. Antique dealers are a tremendous, wondrous group of people and I am blessed to know several.
What I love…who I love..outweighs what I loathe by tons.
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