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Foster Home for Underloved Antiques and Collectibles

Five Checkpoints to Save the Curious Antique Dealer/Collector from Buying Interesting Junk!

I’ve been reading the book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.  It is an awesome book on the value of a proper checklist.  It turns out that checklists, particularly for things we know well and do often, save time and improve our processes.  As an Antique and Collectibles dealer, what I am good at is buying the right item.  However, what I end up doing way too frequently is buying interesting junk.  My life, my shop, and, most of all, my home, no longer has room for interesting junk.

In the interest of saving myself time, money and the trouble of finding homes for really unloved items, I have created the following checklist.  I’ll try it out.  If it works, I’ll let you know.  If you’d like to try it, please feel free.  Let me know how it works for you.

1)    Does the item have an intrinsic value of its own?

If the answer is yes, if you are certain the item is real, and if the value of the item is greater than the cost (i.e. $1.00 for a 10k gold chain) buy it.

2)    What condition is the item in: (Very Poor, Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent)

Stop – if it is in less than Good condition, don’t buy it.

3)    Do you know this item? Or is it very well marked?

Stop – if the answer is no.  Spending hours researching an item is not normally worth your time.  If you are thinking about buying it anyway go directly to checkpoint Number 4.

4)    Does the item feel right?

Is it the right weight, the right texture, the right condition for the age?  Is there something about it that feels right? If you aren’t sure, stop.

5)    Can you sell it? Or if it is for you, can you picture where you will display it?

Will it fit in your store/home?  Will anyone actually appreciate it?  Do you know someone would be thrilled by it? Is it an item you can ship?   If no, stop.

What do you think?  Did I miss something?  Let me know.  I’ve included the short checklist below.  I’m putting it in my garage sale/auction purse.  Here’s hoping it will help keep me out of trouble.  I’ll let you know.

1.Intrinsic Value

2. Condition

3. Known/Marked

4. Feels Valuable

5. Belongs somewhere.


May 24, 2010 - Posted by | Antiques

1 Comment »

  1. I shall try it too.

    Comment by Silver | June 1, 2011 | Reply

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