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The Most Powerful Attribute in Antiques and Collectibles
What can increase your sales volume and make you more productive day in and day out? You've probably heard this three word statement that separates those who wish they could do better, from those who really do.
Knowledge is power!
This three word statement is more than just a great philosophy. The more knowledge you have about antiques, the higher the increase in your overall profitability...as long as you use that knowledge. Knowledge can literally make or break your antique business.
Here's a difficult lesson that was taught to a high-minded museum by a shrewd, savvy antique buyer with knowledge.
I love this story! It vividly illustrates the difference between knowing and being in the dark about antiques and their value. I was browing in an antique shop a number of years ago, when I struck up a conversation with the owner. We talked about incredible finds that we had stumbled across over the years. Her story topped anything that I had ever done...hands down!
It all started when she attended the last day of a weekend sale at a local museum. It seems that the museum was desiring to remodel, and they were attempting to raise needed funds by selling off some antiques that had been found in the carriage barn that stood on the property. Obviously, she was not expecting to see anything spectacular because she assumed that the sale would be "cherry-picked".
And then it happened!
While walking through the sale, she discovered a large painting with a faded gold frame. Something about the painting looked strangely familiar, and she thought to herself, "I've seen that in a history book somewhere."
She quickly ran to her vehicle and poured over several large painting identification books that she had brought with her from her personal library. After taking 10 minutes to research, she was almost positive that this painting was a rare item indeed. She went back inside, and with a few minutes left in the sale, she wrote a personal check for $125. and loaded it into her station wagon.
Life took a sudden and drastic turn...for the better!
Upon arriving home, she began to dig deeper with her research tools. She "burned the midnight oil", and as morning broke, her heart was beating faster as she came to the realization that this painting was something very special.
The next morning, after more phone calls and cross-checking, she gingerly loaded the painting and took it to a temperature controlled vault in the same city where she urchased it. This $125. painting later sold for several million dollars at a major auction house, and this woman's financial future was changed in dramatic fashion literally overnight.
The museum curator was appalled, overwhelmed and completely flabbergasted!
Imagine that you are the curator of this museum, and you placed the $125. price tag on this million dollar painting! This tag sale had been held to raise money for projects around the museum. If the curator had only possessed the knowledge to even "check it out", the outcome could have been far more positive for the establishment that he represented!
Knowledge and research made all the difference.
Aside from the curator, think of all the antique dealers, collectors and enthusiasts that had toured this weekend-long tag sale. Here was an item that could change their entire lives financially, and they walked right on by. any one of them could have sold the painting, banked the money, and just "fiddled" around with antiques instead of trying to make a living from them. And the difference was knowledge!
How to get antique knowledge.
With the advent of the Internet, research is easier to do, and the knowledge is much easier to come by. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of sites that are dedicated to various collectibles, art and antiques.
Visiting the library all day, once a month can be one of the best ways to increase your knowledge of antique items. The library is still one of the most untapped resources for gaining expertise on a variety of antique subjects. Talk to the librarian, ask questions, and dig! The human mind is like a sponge, and someday you may need what you are learning today.
A methodical approach toward research and gaining knowledge can pay huge dividends in your antique world. It's the secret that can make a huge impact in the buying decisions that you make!
Michael Temple is a retired auctioneer, speaker and the owner of Antique Power Dealers, an antique and collectible business resource. (http://www.antiquepowerdealer.com) He is also the author of the report, "6 Costly Mistakes Antique Buyers and Sellers Make...and How to Avoid Them!" You can own a copy by asking for it. Send your request to: [email protected]
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