Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Antique Markets and Flea Markets

Cindy and I will be attending the first antique market for us this summer; the Randolph Street Market Festival, formerly the Chicago Antique Market. If Cindy can get our new video camera operating right, we hope to have some video to share with you of our adventure at this urban market and festival, including a visit with Sally Schwartz, who owns the event.

If you’ve been following our blog, you might recall that Sally is a member of 31 Club, and last summer, she sold a valuable Pauline Palmer Painting that had been in her family, and its six digit figure sale changed her life. She was able to buy out her partner’s share of the Chicago Antique Market and make it her own. (Here's the story Cindy wrote about it.) We sure hope that if you’re in Chicago this summer, you’ll pay a visit to this fine summer urban market.

This visit to the market will give Cindy and me a chance to reacquaint ourselves with the new dealers we met last summer, as well as a chance to visit with old friends.

I have been assured that there will be great paintings, pottery and glass, so you know I will be feeling as if I’m near heaven as I browse around inside and out for true treasures. Sally has wanted to create an atmosphere of a Paris Festival, and with her talent, I certain it will be just that.

Remember to take your time as you approach each booth at a market or flea market, and see if you can pick out the better pieces from a distance. As you practice, you will be able to eye the items that are of interest, and the other items will quickly pass from your eyesight. When I started attending Flea Markets, it was an all day job, but today I can usually complete a market in under four hours, regardless of its size.

When you do spot something of interest, be sure to inspect it for damage first, and then ask the dealer to tell you all he knows about the piece. Often, you will know as much as he does, but be sure to be attentive. If it happens to be something you want to buy, your attentiveness will start you out on his good side.

Before you start negotiating for anything, always identify yourself as a dealer. This usually assures you of at least a 25% discount, while the normal discount to the public is 10%. Other dealers know that you must be able to make a profit from the items you buy, so most of them will work with you. If for some reason you can't come to an agreement on price, be sure to return later. If the item is still there, take another pass at it. If the pieces is over priced, most dealers will know that you are aware of this, and a 50% discount can be in the cards and may well be accepted.

The later in the day, or later into the event, the lower your price should be. The reason for this is that if you are the first to see a special piece, then the dealer could have it underpriced so a very little discount could be in order, but as the sale progresses more and more people will have looked at the piece, so at the asking price it probably isn't a bargain, if they have passed on it.

I will be leaving for the Smokies next Thursday, so I hope that every member will use these next few days to prepare for the ten days I will be away. Yes, I will have my cell phone for you if that special items becomes available, and I’ll have a laptop to continue the Blogs, but I do hope to rest a little and have fun with the family.

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