Most of you who have followed me for any amount of time know that the rule I suggest that you follow in buying is the “31 Rule” which states that you should pay 25% of the retail value for the items you purchase.To make money you must value your time and if by spenting 4 or 5 hours to purchase an item for $20 and then sell the items for $25, yes, you have made money but I assure you that that is the track to going broke and being disappointed in the antique business.
Why do you have this rule? First your goal is to double your money on each of your purchases and my belief is this can only be done if you purchase your items correctly. At 25% of retail, after trying to get the top price for your item, you can reduce the price 50% which would be in essence be wholesale and still reach your goal. This also covers you if you have made a mistake in your judgment. Hopefully, you won't pay over 25% of the value so you should always be safe at that figure. Another advantage to this rule is that you don't invest your money in items that won't sell or that produce very little return for you. I have known people that end up with all their money invested in inventory that can't be sold so they go out of business very disappointed. It isn't how much you sell but what you make on the items you sell.
It is true that it requires patience and self discipine but to be successful in the Antiques and Fine Art business these are two elements that are necessary. If you read the “31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques and Collectibles” you will find that everything is possible if you finish the race and it really doesn't matter how fast you get to the finish line. That smart old turtle proved that to us as children, didn't he?
Many people ask me if I use my own rules and the answer to that question is yes. I would rather never buy an item than to over pay. You see that way I always have my money for when the special deal does come along. For instance yesterday I was having a very restful day with my son Joshua while Vickie my wife is still out of town until the phone rang. “Mr Lambert”, the gentleman on the other end said “Do you buy Lotton Glass?“ It took me a moment to get my head cleared and answer his question but then I said “ yes what do you have for sale?” I soon made an appointment with him to see the pieces he had which consisted of a Charles Lotton perfume bottle and Jack in the pulpit vase plus a small piece by one of the other artist at Lotton gallery. When he arrived I examined the three pieces to be sure there wasn't any damage and asked his price for all three. “I would like to get $1100 but I know the market is soft, what could you offer?” I figured in my head that on a good day they would bring $2500 but all days aren't good during these markets so I offered $500. He said “Is that cash?” and I instantly answered ”yes”. I didn't have the cash in the house so he drove me to the bank and we completed the deal. The picture that is at the top of the page is of the three pieces.
I had a great day and I am sure that I sensed a need that the gentleman had for the money. Just like that “Old Turtle” I just plod alone but it sure feels good knowing that my course is straight and the finish line is just in front of me.
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