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Antique Dealer

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Antique dealers buy and sell old objects and collectors' items.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. You’ll need knowledge of antiques and the market, and funds for starting up.

You could get into this role by:

  • working in an antiques shop as an assistant or general worker
  • working in a salesroom or an auction house as a porter, clerk, cataloguer, valuer or auctioneer
  • collecting and researching antiques as a hobby then taking a stall at antiques markets or fairs, buying and selling on the internet, or opening a shop

You could also increase your knowledge by doing degrees, diplomas and short courses in subjects like art history. 

The British Antique Dealers' Association (BADA) has information on working as an antique dealer.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

• a willingness to research, study and learn from others
• negotiating skills
• the ability to spot saleable items
• good judgement and the ability to make quick decisions
• business sense and a good sales technique

3. What you'll do

You could work with a wide range of objects or specialise in a particular area, like jewellery, glass, furniture or china.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • buying items from salesrooms, auctions, markets, trade fairs and private owners
  • selling items to the general public from shops or from stalls in antique centres
  • negotiating purchases and sales
  • buying and selling items online
  • carrying out minor restoration work
  • researching the identity and value of objects
  • advising owners on the value of their antiques for insurance or sales purposes

You could also work from home, buying and selling to meet customer orders.


4. Salary

Most antique dealers are self-employed. Your income will vary depending on your level of expertise and location.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You won’t usually have set working times. You may have to work long and unsocial hours, including weekends and evenings.

You’d usually do a lot of travelling, visiting clients and going to auctions and antique fairs. This could involve spending nights away from home.

6. Career path and progression

You could progress to become a specialist dealer, valuer or auctioneer.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018