Online Antiques Marketplaces: Why I LoveAntiques.com

Buying and selling antiques has changed dramatically since I launched The Antiques Diva® & Co ten years ago – and no one knows that more than antique dealers. Like all changes, there is both good and bad about selling and buying antiques online. For antique dealers, selling antiques online opens them to potential buyers who may never visit their shop – or even their country! – in person, but can easily view their inventory, ask questions, negotiate prices and arrange to pay for and ship their new antique online, any day of the week, 24 hours a day. 

For antique buyers, the ability to buy antiques online allows them to discover antique treasures they may never have come across at home or on their travels and compare pieces and prices. It provides competitive information. Buyers get peace of mind and gain confidence when online antique dealers are screened and vetted by an online marketplace. 

I love the thrill of the hunt. Personally, I love shopping for antiques in person, touching the piece, inspecting it, talking to the dealer. I love the challenge of negotiating the best possible price for an item. Practically, when I need a special antique for my home I may not have the time or money to travel until I find the perfect piece, at the right price. Being able to shop 24/7/365 from dealers around the globe has enabled me to score some antiques that I realistically would never have bought if I hadn’t sourced it online. Professionally, many antique dealers, interior designers and homeowners simply do not have the time or budget to travel to Europe or Asia to buy the best pieces at the best prices. At AD&CO technology – the internet – allows us to offer our antiques buying services, where we combine the magic of technology with our Diva Guides’ 1st hand antique expertise and personal relationships with antique dealers to buy some amazing inventory for our clients and ship it to their business or home. Online antiques marketplaces are important sources for both our trade and private clients. 

The best online antique warehouses carefully choose their dealers and vet the inventory on their site. They understand that value, honesty and quality are key to making their antique marketplace a success. I’m delighted to introduce you today to LoveAntiques.com, an online antique warehouse run by IACF, International Antiques & Collectors Fairs. I spoke to Will Thomas, Managing Director at IACF, about what’s hot and selling in this uber-competitive industry. 

LoveAntiques.com Online Antiques Marketplace   

Tell us about LoveAntique.com: what is it, who runs it and who are your dealers? 

Will Thomas of IACF and LoveAntiques.com
Will Thomas of IACF and LoveAntiques.com

LoveAntique.com is an online antiques marketplace located in LoveAntiques.com is owned and operated by International Antiques & Collectors Fairs, organizers of Europe’s largest antiques fairs. For over 25 years, IACF has been trusted by dealers to deliver thousands of buying customers to our fairs. Our venture into online sales in 2013 is no different with dedicated marketing and PR teams, and the largest advertising budget in the online antiques sales market, you can trust IACF to deliver buyers both on and offline.

Antiques are listed by certified dealers, their items are then approved by the LoveAntiques.com team. Only antique dealers who can prove an honest history of dealing are able to upload pieces onto our website, so you can shop with confidence on LoveAntiques.

Many of our dealers also have a brick-and-mortar antique shop and list some or all of their inventory on LoveAntiques.com.

Why did you launch an online antiques site?

With online shopping becoming the main way consumers buy products, it was inevitable that the antiques trade will be doing more and more business this way, leading to increased expansion of the online marketplace and the continued growth of the website. I have a firm belief that if you do something well, there is always a place for you in the market. Our visitor traffic is up 75% in the last year and we expect similar growth in the coming year. We’ve doubled our dealer numbers, and more than trebled the number of inquiries coming through to dealers. 

Who are your customers? Who buys antiques on LoveAntiques.com? 

LoveAntiques wants to help the growth of the antiques industry online. We want to bring the world of antiques online for the good of the industry, and we work with numerous publications to promote our antique dealers and their inventory, and to encourage new audiences to shop for antiques online.

The International press is a big PR target for LoveAntiques.com, with our experience of working and encouraging international buyers to attend our IACF fairs. 2 of the USA’s biggest publications, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have promoted our online antique marketplace, which has increased traffic on our site from across the Atlantic, which benefits the antique dealers on our site. We promote LoveAntiques.com to all relevant international publications across the globe.

What are your top sellers – what’s trending? 

Pair of Cut Glass Gypsy Mirrors | Fernyhough Antiques
Pair of Cut Glass Gypsy Mirrors at Fernyhough Antiques

Our current top sellers are antique furniture, antique silver and antique mirrors and vintage wrist watches.

Pair of George V Silver Coffee Pots | Sturman Antiques
Pair of George V Silver Coffee Pots at Sturmans Antiques Ltd. 

What’s most popular on LoveAntiques.com with American buyers? 

The US is about 25% of our market now. The top item going to the US at the moment are the vintage wrist watches!

How do buyers pay for their antiques at LoveAntiques.com? 

Many dealers accept online payments where buyers can purchase the item instantly via PayPal with the necessary delivery costs (if applicable). If however the dealer does not accept online payment the Buy This Item button will take you to a contact form, and you can email the dealer and arrange payment by other means and ask any questions you might have about the item.

English Antiques Diva Buying Agent Gail McLeod is a regular visitor at LoveAntiques.com, as a customer as well as a dealer: 

Gail Mceod, England Antiques Diva Guide
Gail McLeod, England Antiques Diva Guide

I’ve known Will for years through IACF events, they are long-standing advertisers with us at Antiques News & Fairs. We often take Antiques Diva clients to their prominent shows around the UK, Ardingly, Newark and Shepton where we are able to meet a large collection of dealers in one place with plenty of fresh inventory ideal for the export market. The main shippers are also on site so we can get our purchases picked up on the same day. 

I know many of the dealers personally on Love Antiques, such as Fontaine Decorative, and can source special pieces for our clients and alert them to be on the hunt for antiques that are particularly difficult to find when a client is searching for something very specific. As a lover of English garden antiques, my own shop @JardiniereAntiques will be joining LoveAntiques.com later this year because I have great feedback from dealers on the site –  so I personally can vouch for the quality and diversity of their antiques! Will is an expert in SEO and the site is becoming one of the most hi-viz in the sector. 

LoveAntiques.com: The Details 

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For more information on Antiques Diva antique sourcing trips or buying services contact us.

Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva 

Source Antiques Like the Pros: How to Spot Fake Antiques

Sourcing antiques like a pro isn’t simply knowing where to buy antiques: Interior designers, antique dealers, landscape architects and other design professionals not only source antiques in Europe, they also must learn to authenticate the provenance of antiques and spot fakes! Not even experts can always spot a fake: a recent news story about a woodworker who fooled antique experts with a fake American secretary has everyone buzzing! I spoke to a room of design professionals on How to Source Antiques like the Pros with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian at an event at the D&D Building hosted by The Robert Allen Duralee Group. 

(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)


One hot topic the audience asked the panel was, How do I spot fake antiques? 

How do I spot fake antiques?

First and foremost: Spotting fake antiques and reproductions that are being presented as real antiques takes practice – and even the experts can be fooled. One of my favorite stories is that the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of fake Rembrandts in the world! They did an exhibit a few years back of all their fake Rembrandts. The reality is they didn’t buy them as fakes: they thought they were buying real Rembrandts but found out later they were not. This just goes to show: Mistakes can happen to anyone.

What I say is buyer, beware. You should always do as much as you can to authenticate a piece, but even the most educated buyer can make a mistake. But my theory is, when you’re buying an antique, it comes down to:

  • Do you love it?
  • Is it a price you’re willing to pay?
  • Are you willing to live with it even if it’s not what you think it is?

Buyer, Beware: How to Avoid Buying Fake Antiques

Some reproductions are over 100 years old, and antiques themselves! If you love it and its perfect for your needs, there’s nothing wrong with buying a reproduction or ‘fake antique’ – as long as you know it’s not an authentic antique and it’s not being misrepresented. One of the biggest trends in ‘fake antiques’ is when vendors use antique materials to create newly made pieces. An important question to ask is, “Is this a period piece? Or a style piece?” Unfortunately, there are dealers who will deliberately mislead a buyer. Here are some steps you can take to avoid buying fake antiques:

  1. Educate Yourself
    Do your research before you shop and become familiar with the style of antiques you are shopping for.
  2. Ask
    Ask the dealer if the piece is a genuine antique, inquire about its provenance.
  3. Buy From Reputable Dealers
    Most antique dealers love their business and are proud of their stock and reputation. They like talking about their inventory, and telling you how they acquired a piece and sharing their expertise.
  4. Inspect
    Take a close look at any piece you are interested in buying. Do the joints look authentic? Are there signs of modern manufacturing methods? Are the selections – or the prices – too good to be true?
  5. Consult an Expert
    At The Antiques Diva®, our job is to connect you to the right experts who have what you’re looking to buy.

Interior designer Robert Passal pointed out that with experience, you can usually tell an authentic antique from a fake. He added that sometimes reproductions aren’t so bad! Design expert Garrow Kedigian agreed that sometimes reproductions a good purchase: you have to understand decorative art versus antiques. It’s all about the style – sometimes a piece is perfect, even if it’s not an antique.

Book A Tour with The Antiques Diva & CoBOOK AN ANTIQUES BUYING TOUR TODAY

We’d love to take you on an antiques buying tour, and introduce you to our expert dealers and secret sources!

Toma – The Antiques Diva 

 

Why Now is the Best Time to Buy Antiques in England: Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Early in February, I spoke at New York City’s D&D Building and I was asked by a room full of interior design professionals, “Where is the trend heading for European now?” My response: If you’re only going to shop one place, for one-stop shopping the best place to buy antiques is England! In January I was in London twice – first for the London Art, Antiques and Interiors Fair, and then again later in the month for meetings to plan upcoming special events. 

England has become a far more affordable travel destination for Americans in recent years due to some negative news: Brexit led to an economic downturn. Here’s another tip: According to USAToday, ‘Airbnb is thriving in London with an average rental rate of $115 per night, and sister-site TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals are in no short supply.’ 

One of the best examples of “one-stop shopping in England” is the 29th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair in March. 

Today is the Best Time to Buy Antiques in the UK

I was on a panel with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian on How to Source Antiques like the Pros at the D&D Building and hosted by Duralee: the event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here

WATCH: Toma Clark Haines: How to Source Antiques Like the Pros 

Brexit has had an impact on buying antiques in the UK. In short, England has gone on sale for American buyers! Now is the best time to buy antiques in England.

If you’re only going to shop one place, I would say shop in England. England is one-stop shopping. The best of France is already there. For hundreds of years, the Brits have been scouring the world collecting antiques

Antiques Diva buying agent Gail McLeodGail McLeod is our English Antiques Diva Buying Agent and she might just be the most connected woman in the world of antiques. She also is owner of Google’s top-ranked antiques fair website Antiques News & Fairs and is Editor in Chief of the Antiques are Green website and vice chair of the new Antiques are Green Trade Association. She is co-founder of Antiques Young Guns. Her career in the antiques trade began as manager of Pennard House Antiques in Bath – the UK’s largest export trade collective for decorative antiques in the fabled days of frantic business.

Here in England we are blessed with a complete melting pot of inventory which has arrived on our shores from the Colonies and there has never been an occasion when I have been stumped by a request from a Diva client! Spanish Colonial period pieces for a Hollywood mansion? Step this way! A collection of gravestones and a church spire for a luxury theme park? No problem! 

The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is still the leading regional event to beat, where rustic to refined ultra-relevant stylish English Country House style, Mid Century design, industrial chic, Swedish period painted furniture, period portraits and perennially fashionable crusty iron garden furniture will rub shoulders with decorative staples of the 80s and 90s. 

Not Wanted on Voyage – quartet of industrial lanterns Now back in demand by a new and younger audience – French marble top chocolatiers’ tables, elaborate brass and steel bakers’ racks, buffets and armoires in fruitwood, huge pine refectory tables and Windsor chairs, rows of yellow confit pots, pub signs, marine and advertising ephemera, homely Staffordshire dogs, samplers and quilts and yes, large-scale oak, mahogany and walnut brown furniture re-imagined by a new generation of decorators and collectors.

The event has remained at the same wonky Bath Pavilion since the launch back in 1989 and quickly fills up with eager exhibitors each year, keen to secure a place at what is reliably expected to be a busy event teeming with buyers from the UK, EU and USA happy to queue up for hours in all weathers before the doors open at 12 midday.

Country Oak Furniture – group of primitive chairs The 29th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair 

  • www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk
  • Date:
    9-11 March 2018
    TRADE ONLY 8 March
  • Venue:
    The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU
  • Opening Times:
    TRADE PREVIEW Thursday 8 March: 12noon – 5pm
    Admission with Trade Invite or Trade Business Card. Otherwise £10.00.
    PUBLIC: Friday 9 March 10am – 5pm
    Saturday 10 March 10am – 5pm
    Sunday 11 March 10am – 4pm
  • Admission:
    £5.00
    Free Tickets

Cheers! 

Toma, The Antiques Diva