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5 questions to ask an antique dealer

5 Questions you should ask an antiques dealer

Whether you are looking to sell antiques or have invested in some pieces, it is important to know more about them. An antique dealer can provide valuable information on an item's history, provenance, and authenticity, which can help you determine its actual value. The dealer's knowledge of the market can also help you understand the item's demand and resale value. Here are five questions you should ask an antique dealer:

  1. What is its history?
  2. Is it authentic or a reproduction?
  3. What condition is it in?
  4. How rare is it?
  5. What is its value?

Let's look at these questions in more detail:

What is its history?

Knowing the history can be beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it can help determine its age and origin, which is crucial in preventing you from buying a fake or reproduction. The history of an antique also significantly impacts its value because if it has a noteworthy history or provenance, it makes it much more desirable amongst collectors. An excellent history can also forge a deeper connection to the item, as you can imagine the people who owned it and the situations it has been in. All of this makes it a lot more interesting to its owner. Knowing its history allows you to preserve its integrity and understand how restoration work might impact its value.

Is it authentic or a reproduction?

With the rise of reproduction antiques, knowing whether an item is authentic or not is essential. Whilst a replica can still have some appeal, they are often worth less than the real thing. This knowledge will help you understand what it might be worth when you are looking to invest or you have antiques for sale. The authenticity of an item is important to many collectors and enthusiasts as its historical significance and value are often tied to it. There are also some ethical considerations if an item is a replica as buying one can be seen as a disservice to preserving historical antiques and the historical record.

What condition is it in?

Antiques can vary greatly in condition, and this can affect their value as well as their appeal. Therefore, asking an antique dealer about any damage or restoration done to the item is important. An experienced antique dealer, such as Phil Mires at PM Antiques and Collectables will be able to assess the condition and also knows what tell-tale signs to look for with regard to restoration. If done appropriately then restoration is not necessarily a bad thing. But Phil will be able to advise on this based on factors such as the condition, as well as the historical and cultural significance of the piece. An antique at risk of deteriorating further can be preserved with some restoration, but often leaving an antique in its original condition is advisable. 

How rare is it?

The rarity of an antique can also affect its value, as generally speaking, the rarer an item is, the more valuable it is likely to be. Rare antiques are harder to find, so their demand is higher. Understanding the rarity of an antique also helps with its authentication because if it is known to be rare, it can be easier to verify its authenticity and provenance. When there are fewer examples of an antique in existence, it means there is a smaller chance of encountering a fake. An extremely rare antique may be considered a significant historical artefact subject to specific conservation and preservation requirements. So, understanding the rarity of a piece helps with decisions about how best to protect and care for it.

What is its value?

This is a crucial question, and the answer can be determined based on the previous questions. Knowing the value is especially important if you are looking to sell antiques or are considering investing in some. A reputable dealer, such as Phil Mires, can give you an idea of an item's value based on its condition, rarity, and demand. Phil has excellent knowledge of antiques and collectable items and is used to appraising pieces both online and in person. 

Why not contact Phil Mires at 01932 640113 or email at: He will happily help you find out more about your antiques. You can look in our shop, where there are a  broad range of antiques for sale to add to your collection.

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