The Most Powerful Attribute in Antiques and Collectibles
by Michael Temple
What can increase your sales volume and make you more productive day in and day out? You've
probably heard this three word statement that separates those who wish they could do better, from
those who really do.
Knowledge is power!
This three word statement is more than just a great philosophy. The more knowledge you have
about antiques, the higher the increase in your overall profitability...as long as you use that
knowledge. Knowledge can literally make or break your antique business.
Here's a difficult lesson that was taught to a high-minded museum by a shrewd, savvy antique
buyer with knowledge.
I love this story! It vividly illustrates the difference between knowing and being in the dark
about antiques and their value. I was browsing in an antique shop a number of years ago, when I
struck up a conversation with the owner. We talked about incredible finds that we had stumbled
across over the years. Her story topped anything that I had ever done...hands down!
It all started when she attended the last day of a weekend sale at a local museum. It seems that
the museum was desiring to remodel, and they were attempting to raise needed funds by selling off
some antiques that had been found in the carriage barn that stood on the property. Obviously, she
was not expecting to see anything spectacular because she assumed that the sale would be
And then it happened!
While walking through the sale, she discovered a large painting with a faded gold frame.
Something about the painting looked strangely familiar, and she thought to herself, "I've seen that
in a history book somewhere."
She quickly ran to her vehicle and poured over several large painting identification books that
she had brought with her from her personal library. After taking 10 minutes to research, she was
almost positive that this painting was a rare item indeed. She went back inside, and with a few
minutes left in the sale, she wrote a personal check for $125. and loaded it into her station
Life took a sudden and drastic turn...for the better!
Upon arriving home, she began to dig deeper with her research tools. She "burned the midnight
oil", and as morning broke, her heart was beating faster as she came to the realization that this
painting was something very special.
The next morning, after more phone calls and cross-checking, she gingerly loaded the painting
and took it to a temperature controlled vault in the same city where she purchased it. This $125.
painting later sold for several million dollars at a major auction house, and this woman's
financial future was changed in dramatic fashion literally overnight. Cont'd