How to Deal in Antiques by Fiona Shoop

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How to Deal in Antiques by Fiona Shoop

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Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Van der Kiste
Reviewed by John Van der Kiste
Summary: A thorough and comprehensive guide to the pros and cons of dealing in antiques and collectables, written by a TV and radio expert with over 25 years' experience.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 306 Date: January 2009
Publisher: How To Books Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1845283001

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There can be hardly anyone who hasn't at least considered making a few honest pennies by selling collectable goods of one kind or another. Making a full-time career out of it is a very different proposition, but from small acorns, large trees grow. Whether you just like the idea of dipping your toe in the water at the occasional car boot sale, or considering it as a serious business, you will find the answer to more or less everything you need to know in this newly revised fourth edition by a TV and antiques expert who has over 25 years of experience in the trade, as well as her own antiques business.

One of the most important things to know is - when is an antique not an antique? The author contends that this is the word used to describe something which is 100 years old or more. Anything newer is regarded as a 'collectable', or 'collectible' in the US market, though no less worthy. Having established that, what kind of dealer do you wish to be. Have you got what it takes to be full-time, part-time, or would you rather do it as a hobby, for example making the occasional purchase and sale on eBay?

Having decided on that, what do you want to buy and sell?? Have you accumulated or inherited a large collection which you need to dispose of sensibly, or have you had enough of the rat race and feel this is as appealing a way to work for yourself as any other? All the practical pros and cons of dealing are covered in brisk lively chapters. Specialisation, antiques centres and fairs, and whether you need to have your own shop and/or website or not are all dealt with, alongside mundane matters like why you need a mobile phone, insurance, transport (in other words, if furniture is your main interest, you need a decent van), and keeping records for the taxman (take care of those receipts).

Specialised knowledge is important, and the author points out what to watch for when reading price labels, getting the best out of other dealers (especially when building up stock) and customers, how to tell if something is a fake, why to avoid purchasing damaged goods (not quite as straightforward as it sounds), how to make sure they don't get damaged once they're yours, and newspaper wrapping vs. bubblewrap. Then there is the matter of what sells, what is fashionable and what should be avoided at all costs. Anything in good condition, such as annuals and toys, associated with Thunderbirds, Star Wars, and Dr Who is in, but cabbage patch dolls have had their day, and prices for Harry Potter-associated goods are expected to plummet soon. One chapter provides brief but very handy definitions of Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, and the various china or pottery firms such as Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, Wemyss and Clarice Cliff.

All in all, this is an extremely comprehensive guide for any would-be dealer at all levels. It is frequently revised - the first edition was in 2002, this is the fourth, and new editions are evidently issued at intervals of two or three years, so there is no danger of the information being out of date.

Our thanks to How To Books for sending a copy to Bookbag.

You could shelve this next to Killer Stuff and Tons of Money by Maureen Stanton.

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Buy How to Deal in Antiques by Fiona Shoop at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Deal in Antiques by Fiona Shoop at


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