Television programmes and lifestyle magazines have have helped raise the awareness of antiques. They serve not only to increase knowledge of pieces from earlier ages but also to make people aware of their value. We are constantly being told of people who find a priceless item that has been lurking in the attic, barn or garage, or found at a car boot sale or in a junk shop.
Buying Antiques
In reality, such lucky finds are rare and when they do occur they happen to those who have enough expertise to back their hunch with sound experience. For the rest of the world, buying a serious, valuable antique, whether it be a Regency dining table, 1700´s Dutch flower painting or an ironstone dinner service, involves considerable financial outlay. So, what steps does the enthusiastic but inexperienced beginner take to thread their way through the thorny thicket of the antiques market and emerge unscathed and unfleeced at the other side?
Cash Limit
Firstly, a couple of obvious, practical points. Decide on a cash limit and do not exceed it or you may end up repenting your spur of the moment extravagance. Try to stick broadly to your original intentions and do not get waylaid down tempting blind alleys. If, for example, you set out to buy a dining table, it is no good coming back with a card table. However prettily inlaid it might be, you will never fit all the plates on it at dinner parties.

Similarly, if you wanted an intimate miniature for the bedroom you might live to regret that you ended up with a six foot square, bargain-priced, stag hunting scene that will not fit comfortably on any wall in the house.
Search Around
In feeding such considerations, the first thing you should then do is take a good look around at what is on offer in your chosen field. Seek out those shops whose stock conforms to your general taste (not all of them will). Try locally first, but if your area is thinly supplied go further afield, taking careful note of the descriptions and comparing prices.

In this context, antiques fairs make ideal hunting grounds but try, if you can, to visit some of the more prestigious venues, big annual events. It is worth the expense of the entrance fee to gain the advantage of having so many serious dealers captive under one roof, and even if many of the pieces are beyond your pocket it nonetheless gives you a picture of the breadth and variety on offer.
Buying & Selling Antiques
In recent years, television programmes and lifestyle magazines have fuelled a nostalgic enthusiasm for the past. Their presentation serves not only to increase knowledge for art and antiques from earlier centuries but also to heighten our expectations of their value. The media constantly regale us with stories of people who find Turners skulking in the attic or rare Chinese dishes in the one pound box outside a junk shop.