How to Find Bargains at an Antique Fair

Are you a bargain hunting junkie who likes to attend every antique fair and flea market possible to add to your collection, or are you a beginner, just getting ready to venture out to one for the first time?

I’ve learned that antique fairs are a great place to pick up some treasures at a bargain price if you know what you’re doing.  Next time you attend an antique fair or estate sale, try following some of these tips so you can get the best deals!

 

  • Be familiar with antiquing terminology before you begin. By law, antiques only refer to items at least a 100 years old, while vintage collectible must be at least 50 years old. However, watch out for reproductions at fairs, as they may look like an antique or vintage piece but hold no actual monetary value.
  • Arrive early. While it may not always work, many important deals sometimes happen in the parking lot while dealers are setting up as patrons arrive. If you get to see the pick of the litter per se, you’ll have a better chance of buying antique diamond rings, which may also require you to negotiate the price.
  • Bring some of your own equipment for inspecting potential purchases. A small magnifying glass will tell the exact silver content in antique Sterling Silver jewellery, as well as highlight authentic signatures or show wear patterns or damages. A key ring or pen flashlight will also assist in seeing impurities, while a tiny magnet allows you to test if it’s real silver. In addition, make sure your cell phone is charged and ready because you’ll want to save your findings in a document on it, as well as use your camera to send images to an expert if need be.
  • Use your senses. This works more with antiques for the home, in that if you gently tap glassware or stoneware and it shows visible cracks, it’s a safe bet that it’s been repaired. In addition, you can often tell with wooden pieces or crocks, if something has been re-smoked by a weird odor so remember to use all of your senses.
  • Go over your findings. Is this a new antique piece or has it toured many shows and no one has wanted it yet? If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to ask questions.
  • Converse with the local dealers. They’ll be able to tell if the wear on the antique Art Deco bracelet you want is really from the 20th century or if it’s recently been reproduced. They’ll know the history of certain pieces like which ones were recently worn in the remake of the Great Gatsby. They’re very knowledgeable about who sold it to them, and how long they’ve owned it.
  • Be open to negotiating with dealers. Sometimes the dealers may get an item like an antique brooch really affordably at an estate sale. If you do your research and know the market price for that style and time period, there’s a good chance, you can finagle them down to a lower price than what they’re currently asking.

Whether you’re just looking to add a few more items to your own personal stash or to flesh out your antique shop, you can find lots of bargains at these antique fairs and estate sales. Now that you know these tips, go out there and bargain hunt to your heart’s content.

Do you like to shop for antiques?

About the author

Kayla

Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

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