Retail

Antique Dealer

Antique dealers buy and sell old objects and collectors' items.

Annual Salary

Variable

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Variable

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Antique Dealer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could work with a wide range of objects or specialise in a particular area, like jewellery, glass, furniture or china.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • buying items from salesrooms, auctions, markets, trade fairs and private owners
  • selling items to the general public from shops or from stalls in antique centres
  • negotiating purchases and sales
  • buying and selling items online
  • carrying out minor restoration work
  • researching the identity and value of objects
  • advising owners on the value of their antiques for insurance or sales purposes

You could also work from home, buying and selling to meet customer orders.

 

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • turning a hobby into a job

University

You could study for a degree in fine arts or art history, although this is not always essential.

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

College

You may be able to start by taking part-time or short residential courses to build up your knowledge. Courses include:

  • antiques
  • history of art
  • fine art
  • decorative arts

There are no set entry requirements for this route.

Work

You could work in an antiques shop as an assistant, learning on the job.

You could also start in a salesroom or auction house as a porter, clerk, cataloguer, valuer or auctioneer.

Other routes

You could collect and research antiques as a hobby and then take a stall at an antiques market or fair, buy and sell on the internet, or open a shop.

Some of the larger auction houses, like Sotheby's Institute of Art and Christie's Education run short courses in art history and the arts market. They also offer more in-depth postgraduate study aimed at graduates wanting to work in the commercial arts market.

Further information

You'll need a good knowledge of antiques and the market. Sales skills, the ability to spot saleable items, and funds for starting up are likely to be more important than formal qualifications.

You can discover more about working in antiques through the The British Antique Dealers' Association.

Variable

Most antique dealers are self-employed. Your income will vary depending on your level of expertise and location.

Variable

You won’t usually have set working times. You may have to work long and unsocial hours, including weekends and evenings.

You’d usually do a lot of travelling, visiting clients and going to auctions and antique fairs. This could involve spending nights away from home.

You could progress to become a specialist dealer, valuer or auctioneer.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to sell products and services
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device


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