“I lost my job.” is sadly something I hear with increasing frequency when I visit an antiques fair where anyone can turn up and sell. Of course, as one immediately feels bad about their self-esteem, children, loans, bills and the mortgage. But I also worry a little. I worry that all their newly ‘chosen’ profession will do is create false hope, drain precious savings – and make the situation worse. I’m not being critical, I’m being cautious and careful, which is especially important in these poor economic times. When a professional schooled on daytime antiques shows, the beloved Antiques Roadshow and a shelf of books, begins to rely on dealing to replace their monthly salary, things can get scary.

Lots of full-time dealers I know also have a small regular income they can rely on, such as a pension or a regular part-time job. Or a partner or spouse with one, or both of those. That’s important when the sixth rain-sodden early morning trawl of a car boot sale or ‘feeder fair’ yields little new stock to make a profit …

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