auction hammer with screens

10 Tips on the Business of Antiques Auctioning

The phrase “old is gold” certainly rings true in the selling and buying of antiques. In earlier days, the secrets of the successful antique business trade were passed down through pocketbooks and anecdotes. These secrets have remained faithful over time, and have been curated down to the top ten tips which are listed below here for you to steal.

1 – Know What You Are Selling

The first thing to consider in this line of work is having a good understanding of your merchandise. Knowing the origins and history behind the antique before the showcase. A valued antique always has some interesting story behind it; you can use this as a promotion technique during an antique auction.

2 – Prepare For Price Haggles

In every business situation, both the seller and the buyer want to make profits and avoid losses as much as they can. With this in mind, always set prices that can still earn you higher profits even after the customer has bargained. This cushion in price gap will allow room for you to make your customers feel like they have gotten a good deal out of the transaction.

3 – Do Your Own Research

Research is mandatory in this line of work. By doing research, you will be able to know more about the current market trends. Use trusted sources like the Australian Antique and Art Dealers Association to find information. You will be able to compare your items with other sellers, allowing you to know the uniqueness and rarity of the item you are selling.

4 – Presentation Matters

The manner in which you present your items during an auction will determine the success of the auction. Always ensure that the antiques are dusted and are sparkling clean despite the age. The appearance of well cared for collections will raise the value of the item in the buyer’s mind. Using elegantly designed airtight cabinets can also help sell your pieces during the auction while keeping them in pristine condition.

5 – Be Friendly

In every business situation, customers mirror the behaviour of the person selling. When auctioning the sales rate will be determined by the kind of attitude you have towards your customers. Frowning or being overly rude are not practices of a successful business. As an antique auctioneer always strive to smile and thank customers for giving their time of day for your services.

6 – Arrive at Auctions Early

In most cases, antique auctions take place on a large scale. Several other auctioneers are likely to be in the same venue. By arriving early at the auction site, you will be able to pick the best spots that will give customers a better view of your items.

side view of crowd seated at an auction

7 – Make use of Online Platforms

The availability of online shops has made it relatively easy to carry out online auctions. By picking the right platform, you can carry out an antique auction while in the comfort of your house. Several buyers will place bids on the item you are auctioning after which you can pick the customer that bids the highest price.

8 – Consult with Others in the Business

This particularly applies to first-timers, who may not be familiar with the auctioning procedure. But it can also apply to those who have been in the business for a while, who are feeling uninspired or stuck. You may think you know all that you could from reading information online or your own experiences. But it’s always good to keep an eye out for new perspectives and insights from your peers so you can stay on top of the auctioning game.

9 – Handle With Care

Most antiques are very fragile, and a lot of care should be taken when handling them. When preparing for an auction, use appropriate containers to avoid unnecessary damage and loss with your collection. Using bubble wraps is for amateurs mailing items through the public post system. Antiques are no ordinary everyday objects, and hold not just monetary but often historical value, and should be treated delicately. Take your time to go beyond the packaging basics and invest in storing and shipping art services. Yes, there’s a whole business behind it, and they will ensure your antiques are stored in tip-top condition and delivered on-time while you worry about the important stuff for a successful auction.

10 – Keep it Simple

In antique auctioning, simplicity is key. Try as much as you can to preserve the natural appearance of your items. Avoid making modifications that may lower the quality of your items (e.g. not re-painting antiques that may seem to have worn out). Preserving the simple old look is what will market the antique during an auction.