Antiques Dealer Jobs

Have you ever watched Antiques Roadshow on PBS? During the show, antique experts value different objects. Some items are worth next to nothing and others are worth small fortunes. The trained eyed of an antiques dealer can easily tell the difference.

Antique dealers find, value, buy, and sell antiques for a living. Antiques are rare, collectable, and desirable objects that are valuable because of age, beauty, and craftsmanship. It’s the antique dealer’s job to know the difference between a pricey antique and a dusty piece of junk.

Male Antique Dealer Reviewing Antique Pot

Antiques can be just about anything. Usually they are at least 100 years old. Furniture, folk art, decorations, clocks, watches, maps, paintings, tapestries, silver, jewelry, manuscripts, ceramics, memorabilia, books, original screenplays, historical items, first edition dolls, vintage radios, cars, or tools can all fit the description. Do you have any “old” things like these lying around your home? They might be worth a substantial amount of money.

Antiques dealers must specialize in a niche so that they know what’s what. They could be an expert at turn of the century jewelry boxes, toys of the American West, or 19th century British furniture. As an expert, an antiques dealer can easily identify and appraise items in their niche.

Many people don’t know the potential value of the treasures they have in the attic or crawl space. A hand-me-down lamp from your great-grandfather may be a piece of junk to you, but to an antique dealer it’s a profitable gem. To find the best deals, antique dealers frequent auctions, garage sales, eBay, thrift stores, antiques shops, flea markets, and even Craigslist. You never know when or where somebody will get rid of their “old junk.”

When an antiques dealer finds a good deal, they will negotiate for it at a fair price. Then they sell the item to a devoted collector at a higher price. It’s can be a risky business, but it’s usually worth it. Eventually, an antiques dealer will build up an inventory of collectable items and a loyal clientele.

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Antique dealing often starts as a hobby before it blossoms into a full time job. To become an antiques dealer, you have to know your niche. Earning a degree in history or art is wise, but is not required. It’s smart to obtain an apprenticeship with an auction house, an art dealer, or an antiques shop. Some antiques dealer takes courses with companies like Christie’s too.

Once established as a subject matter expert and an reputable source of information, antique dealers can build their reputation, network with sellers, and find loyal buyers – all things you need to run a successful antiques dealing business.

Antiques dealers can open their own antique shops, dabble in antique restoration, or find jobs at auction houses like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, or Bonham’s. Many are self-employed or only work part-time as dedicated hobbyists. Wherever they work, the goal is the same – to find, appraise, buy, and sell antiques.

On average, antique dealers earn $45,000 per year. Pay depends on how many items they buy and sell, the deals they can find, the niche they specialize in, their clientele, their reputation, and their employer.

The world of antiques is bigger than you might realize. Before you toss that old junk in the trash or sell it on eBay, ask an antiques dealer how much it might be worth. It might be quite valuable. If you have an eye for antiques and a knack for sales, why not find a job as an antiques dealer?

Quick Facts About Antique Dealer Jobs

Job Title: Antiques Dealer aka Antiques Appraiser
Office: Antique shops
Description: Find, value, buy, and sell antiques
Certifications/Education: None required
Necessary Skills: Niche-specific knowledge
Potential Employers: Auction Houses, Antique Shops, Self-Employed
Pay: $45,000 per year

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