Retail & Consumer Products
Antique dealers buy and sell old or antique objects and collectors' items.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does an Antique Dealer do?
Antique dealers buy and sell old or antique objects and collectors' items. Antique dealers are passionate about historical items, and like the idea of buying and selling.
As an antique dealer, your work could 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 work with a wide range of objects or specialise in a particular area, such as jewellery, glass, furniture or china.
Key skills and interests
To become an antique dealer, you would need:
- a passionate interest in the items you deal in
- willingness to research, study and learn from others
- knowledge of antiques – either generally or in a specialised area
- negotiating skills
- good judgement and the ability to make quick decisions
- business sense and a good sales technique.
Working hours and conditions
You would not normally have set working times, and you may have to work long and / or unsocial hours, including weekends and evenings.
You would normally work in an office, and usually do a lot of travelling, visiting clients and going to auctions and antique fairs. This could involve spending nights away from home.
You could also work from home, buying and selling to suit customer orders.
How to become an Antique Dealer?
Entry Level Education
You do not need any particular qualifications to be an antique dealer. A good knowledge of antiques, sales skills, the ability to spot saleable items, and funds for starting up are more important than formal qualifications.
You could start in this career in one of the following ways; working in an antiques shop, working in an entry level role in a salesroom or an auction house and gaining experience over a number of years, collecting and researching antiques as a hobby.
Another option might be to study for a degree or diploma in a related area such as fine arts or art history to develop your knowledge, although this is not essential.
Antique dealing is a specialised occupation, and many people in this profession are self-employed.
The prospects for employment in this profession will always be directly related to the economic conditions for discretionary purchases such as antiques, as well as the current 'fashion' of the day for antiques and other collectibles.