Treasure Hunters

What to look for when searching for antiques

“Most dealers are happy to share their experience and knowledge with others,” says Susie Clodfelter, promoter of the Antiques Extravaganza of North Carolina show headed to Raleigh this month.

Scoring a Great Find
  • Turn left once you’ve passed through the entrance when everyone else turns right. You’ll get to the best find before others do.
  • Assemble a pile of things you want and ask the vendor what “all this” would cost; they often cut deals to good customers.
  • Dealers like to sell chairs in sets of four, six, or eight. Carry a reference photo of those you want, and you may be able to build up a cut-price collection by purchasing stragglers.
What Adds Value
  • Original items (in as-made condition) are the most sought after. But what else makes a great piece? Follow your heart: If it’s something you will be living with, think of your own style first – then consider any investment value a bonus.
  • Is the item well constructed? Has it been well cared for? Note any wobbly legs, broken pieces, cracks or stains. Ask the seller about its history.
  • “Purchases for investment and/or potential heirloom should be the best quality pieces you can afford,” says Clodfelter. If you fall in love with something, sometimes it means paying a premium.
Haggle Smartly
  • Savvy antiquers negotiate. Clodfelter says most dealers are open to polite, fair offers. If bargaining makes you nervous, start a conversation by asking for the seller’s best price.
  • Shop Early, Shop Late: You’ll find the best selection in the morning, and the best deals near closing time.

An eagle eye and persistence are how antique dealers find their treasures, so follow the pros and enjoy the hunt. Admission $7.00; weekend pass $8.00. Visit antextofnc.com for discount tickets and further information.

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