Once you have your collecting niche or niches decided the next thing to ponder is how are you going to increase your collection? Lets look at the traditional place to buy antiques and that is the bricks and mortar auction house. Firstly, you need to find your local auction houses, a quick search in the yellow pages or online should identify your local auctioneers. Most auction houses aim to hold around one auction a month, usually they have a viewing period of around a week before the auction sale takes place. They will also publish a sale guide listing all the lots that will be up for sale in the auction. It is a very good idea to go to auction house prior to the sale and view the items in the flesh. Just looking in the auction guide will not allow you to appreciate the item and it may not have accurately listed any flaws. Once you have been to a viewing day you can then mark the items of interest in your auction guide. The auction guide will also give you a auction estimate of what they think the item will sell for. It is a good idea to write next to this, the highest amount you are prepared to pay and stick to this. On the day of the auction make sure you get there on time as they always start promptly and they won't wait for you if you are running late. Now, the most important part is to keep to your budget as auctio n fever can often have you paying far more than you originally intended. Make sure you bid clearly so the auctioneer can spot your bid, and hopefully you will be the winning bidder on some or all of your wish list. Don't forget once you have bought the item you will have to pay the auctioneers commission, this can be anything from 10-15% of the final sales figure.
Another place to buy antiques or collectables is from antique shops or fairs. By buying in a antiques shop you are often paying a retail price for the item. However, a good antiques dealer will be knowledgeable about the piece and should give you good advice. Fairs are very much like antiques shops but on a larger scale. Prices do tend to be a little cheaper than a antiques shop as there is a lot more competition for your cash on the day. Antique shops and fairs are often a good starting point for a novice collector as you can get useful advice and take your time over your purchase rather than the often nerve racking, fast paced auctions. One thing to remember to do is ask for a discount, dealers expect this and will not be offended. When the dealer gives the price a good rule of thumb is to offer him around 60% of that price and they will usually meet around the middle, thus giving you a 20-25% discount, leaving you some spare pennies for your next piece.
Finally, the place to pick up bargain antiques and collectables is car boot and table top sales. It is important to note that most sellers at car boot sales are there to clear unwanted items from their house and not to sell antiques, therefore you will get little to no advice about the item and no refunds are given if it turns out it is not what you thought it was. You will have to sift through, DVD's, clothes, power tools and toys to find the antiques but don't give up as they are out there. If you spot a antique or collectable ask the seller for a price and again haggle and come to an agreed amount. Car boots are now attracting more and more dealers who know what they have got and what it is worth. Therefore it is often worth avoiding these sellers initially and try and find the one off seller who is clearing granny's loft. You can pick up absolute bargains at car boots, giving you a low cost way of starting your collection. A lot of people will sell there less desirable antiques they have picked up from car boots to fund new purchases from auctions and antiques shops.
Collecting antiques and collectables is fun and gets you out and about hunting for that bargain or getting your hands on that special piece for your collection. Where and however you decide to start your collection, remember this piece of advice, only pay what you can afford to pay, buy what you like and buy quality.