Back in April, a year-long, nationwide project reached a sparkling and exciting peak as we announced the ‘Antiques Young Gun’ of the year for 2013. Many think the antiques world is dry, dusty and staid and certainly not a place for career driven, intelligent and entrepreneurial young people. Not so! In fact, there are many more than you’d think – and as well as being the future of the trade, they’re thriving! The competition was open to anyone under 39 years of age who makes their living from the world of antiques, vintage or collectables. We had hundreds of entries from across the spectrum, including people who are working for auction houses, learning how to be restorers, organising regional and international fairs and, of course, dealing. Our youngest entrant was 17! You can read more about the call to arms and the prizes on offer by clicking here. The competition was part of National Antiques Week 2013 and was organised by Gail McLeod of Antiques …

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Trade vs. Retail

When I started working in the antiques industry, buying at auction was deemed buying at ‘trade’, and buying from a dealer was deemed ‘retail’. And price levels typically matched that. But things were already on the move.

An auction was held during the week, you really needed to view the objects before you bought them (also only during the week), a certain level of knowledge was required to properly understand a catalogue, photographs were few and far between, and the spectre of caveat emptor was ever-present. It was the world of the dealer, and the serious, experienced collector who booked precious holiday days off work to get their fix.

How things have changed. An auction house isn’t worth its salt now unless it has glossy, fully illustrated catalogues, friendly suitably expert staff able to give detailed condition reports and, most recently, tied-in shipping services. Auctions are still typically during the week, but that hardly matters as anyone can now book a ‘phone, leave a commission bid, or take part in the …

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