Photo by CC user Jorge Royan via http://www.royan.com.ar/
Are you looking to become a collector? Want to take this up as a full-time profession or rather a small-mid sized business? The prudent aspect about starting an antique collection business is that you do not need a license to get into the business. You just need some funds, or to find ways to generate funds, and an endless passion for the trade. If you’ve got these, then you are well on your way to becoming an antique collector that people will not only buy from but also respect.
You do not need education or even a degree to get into the trade of antiques like the professionals. The Raab Collection, for instance, has a great collection of antiques ranging from authentic documents and letters signed by the late greats like Abraham Lincoln. They are a real inspiration for others. There is nothing wrong with collecting Transformers or something that is not an antique (though perhaps one day they will be), but here we are focusing more on antiques.
Arranging for Funds
The first thing you need to do is to arrange for funds. You can start by saving money and investing it in smaller value antiques and reselling them to other hobbyists for a higher price. This will not only help you earn some cash and save up for starting an art collection store, but it will also help you get some firsthand experience on how to run an antique store.
Start small with lesser value items and try reselling them through your friends and family network. Networking is very important in any business and the same is true for running an antique store.
For example, if you are looking to become an expert who has a great collection of historical documents and artifacts, you need to learn to pick a niche. Do not try to buy and stock everything and anything under the sun. You will quickly run out of money and sometimes it can take time before you are able to find a buyer for your stock items. The ability to hold money and wait for the right buyer is crucial in this business.
You can purchase antiques and hold it for a certain number of years; it will only appreciate in value. This is the beauty of this business. It is like a long term business investment where your patience is rewarded many times over.
Types of Dealers
There are different types of antiques dealers and it is important to find which category you belong to:
~ Hobbyist Dealer is an antique dealer who is interested in the art and has a passion. Instead of buying expensive items, he would rather go for items that are well within his family budget.
~ Prestige Dealer is a dealer who buys these antiques not because they are interested in it or because they have a passion for it, but because they want to be called and looked upon as an antique collector.
~ The Collector is a person who specializes in one particular type of antiques like hubcaps, stamps, coins or old authentic and signed documents. They don’t sell items but collect them to show off.
~ Full/Part Time Dealer is someone who is in the business of buying and selling antiques on a regular basis. They are doing it for the money as well as the joy that it brings to them. These are the kinds of dealers who buy antiques, keep them for some time and wait for the right buyer to sell them for a nice little profit.
If you are essentially looking to become a part-time dealer, and later a full-time dealer, start small and slowly build up. An eye for antiques is critical in this line. There are three different types of antiques to keep in mind:
True antique is at least 100 years old as per the laws and customs of many states and countries.
Near antique falls in the category of 75 to 99 years old. This is the kind of antique that you could buy for a lesser amount, as an investment, and wait for it to mature. Then you can sell it for a profit to the right buyer.
Vintage means that the artifact belongs to a certain time in a certain age.
Almost every house has antiques and artifacts that were passed from one generation to another generation. Check your basement or attic to start with. Ask your grandparents for more information on how it came into the family. Personal stories add to the fun of the process.
Try knocking on the doors of neighbors and see if you can find something for your collection. After you have some experience and knowledge, try buying some antiques from professionals who will not only sell you marvelous artifacts, but also guide you on how to start your own shop. It is always good to have a mentor guiding you through the world of antiques.
No one says doing business is easy but it can become easier if you have a guardian angel or a mentor looking over you as you go about starting your antique business.