Monthly Archives: September 2012

So You Want To Be An Antique Dealer?

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When responding to the statement, “I would love to be an antique dealer”,  “Hmmm”, is the first reply  because in my brain I am flashing to my garage and all things stacked for repair or tagging or the buyer to pick up or me to get it to the store so someone can buy it!  Whew, exhaustion has set in just writing about it.  I want you to know how unglamorous it is to be an antique dealer.  Let’s begin with one of my little secrets — Polio, the settee.  The twisted dark wood,  heart-shaped, green behemoth,  that I have been hauling around for twenty years  is my pride and joy.  I can’t part with him, Polio,  and I can’t decide what fabric to upholster this guy in and rightly so as he has moved through my many design phases, not limited to but including, the peach phase and the jewel tone phase and the burlap phase and several off the wall whims involving velvet, damask, flocked dot voile and denim.  Polio  has real horse hair and goose feathers in the cushion.  He’s old and smelly and named by my sons who swear they will contract polio if they have to move him one more time.  Here he is — Polio the Settee!

Polio is an example of the”Collection” disease of being an antique dealer.  It’s like a fever that makes you slow down and feel bad, but you keep going outside in bare feet in the dead of winter expecting not to get sick.   You just keep collecting, sometimes keeping, and;  hopefully,  mainly selling your wonderful finds.  In other words, the garage will never be free again.  By the way,  these are pictures of my garage and in no way does polio come inside the house.  Just thought I would say that in case you are looking at the floor.  Wow, look at that snake head pattern on the floor which brings me to the fact that I buy things that are nasty and have to be cleaned like this original Samsonite cosmetic case or in this case an apothecary case because it belonged to a local Brenham man who was in sales.  His name is still on the tag.

Old things that survive generally need repair as in the case of these cained seat oak dining chairs.  These things usually sit until I can come up with a plan and then I repair and paint, get them tagged and to Hermann’s Antique Mall.

These are scatter frames in front of the old windows I have been hoarding collecting.  To the frames,  I add wire and clothes pins for bulletin boards or sometimes just tag them so they can be purchased for a collage on someone’s walls.  Old windows mean total procrastination for me.  I have good intentions, but they are usually grimy so I keep putting those to the back of the pile.

So you want to be an antique dealer?  Here’s my advice:

1.  You have to love it because it is work.  Good old-fashioned lifting, scrubbing, painting and all sorts of other things.

2.  Don’t care about the money.  Money will come if you’re not worried about it.

3.  You win some and you lose some.  This applies to buying and selling.  Enjoy the hunt.

4.  There are good people and bad people.  Greed and the Green Monster always rear their ugly heads.

5.  Do your research but don’t expect to find all your answers on-line.  You have to go and look at other dealer’s prices.

6.  Don’t be in the storage business in your store.  Mark things down and move it.  Yes, you can always get more for it, but when?

7.  Do have a place at home to store things and not in your house so that you won’t become a hoarder!

8.  Love the people.

9.  Forgive the nuts.

10. Give some things away to charity or friends.  It always comes back two-fold.

This was just the not so glamorous side.  Stay tuned for some fabulous finds and the details about them.  Here goes the Disclaimer:  I am not an expert, but I don’t think just making my rent is acceptable.

Happy Antiquing!

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