Starting Your Antique Collection

Sep 18, 2005 | Collectibles | 0 comments

by Dakota Caudilla

Tip 1: Understanding antiques

In strict antique-speak, an antique is any collectable item that is seventy to one-hundred years old. Newer items can also be quite valuable; if you know how to pick them. In all instances, a collectible item has value if someone, somewhere, wants to buy it. Just remember: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

You may already know what you want to start collecting, but finding your antique niche means doing the relevant research first. For every item–furniture, clothing, books, or other odd collectibles–there is a general code of understanding as to their value in dollars. In order to be a successful antique collector you need to learn about the era in which you item was made, and what this means about its value.

Tip 2: Understanding the antique market

Whether you are interested in building a collection of Victorian furniture or vintage baby clothing one of the best places to start is the Internet. Use the search engine of your choice to begin researching your antique niche from the comfort of your own home.

Or you may like to log onto eBay: eBay offers a great atmosphere to get a feel for what is valuable, what isn’t and how much things are selling for. In eBay search for something like “antique” and “silver” or “leather” and see what the search brings up. Watch a few of these items for a few days. Note the price, item details, or use the eBay interface to ask questions about the piece you are watching: age, condition, previous owner, etc.

Once you get an idea of what is on offer, how people buy and how much people are willing to pay for an item, you may like to head off to markets, antique stores and shows where you can engage other enthusiasts or shop owners into discussion.

Tip 3: Determining what to collect

Choosing your antique niche is more about what interests you; it also depends on how deep your pockets are. Try to budget a certain amount of your income per month to see how much you can spend. Also, ask yourself how quickly you want to start building your antique collection. If you have lots to spend you may choose to locate items in mint condition. If you have less to spend you may go after items in less than mint condition. It’s always best to research before you buy. In all cases, try to learn as much as you can about the certain type of collectible or antique: where it comes from, the style or era, and even, the maker or artist or designer. Be it silverware or clothing or furniture or paintings, the more you know about the items you choose to collect the better you’ll be able to judge its value. Otherwise you’ll just have to take other people’s word for it.

About the Author

Dakota Caudilla, journalist, and website builder Dakota Caudilla lives in Texas. He is the owner and co-editor of on which you will find a longer, more detailed version of this article.

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