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Online Antiques Marketplaces: Why I | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva & Co

Online Antiques Marketplaces: Why I

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, 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. Online Antiques Marketplace   

Tell us about what is it, who runs it and who are your dealers? 

Will Thomas of IACF and

Will Thomas of IACF and is an online antiques marketplace located in 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 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

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 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, 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 to all relevant international publications across the globe.

What are your top sellers – what’s trending? 

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

What’s most popular on 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 

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, 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 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. The Details

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

Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva 

Diva-scovery: Antichita Marciana – Venice, Italy

While I love Venice, I’ve never exactly thought of it as a shopping mecca. Romantic, gorgeous and historic, yes… but I’ve always saved my euro for Italian shopping in Milan, Florence, Como and Rome, assuming that the prices in Venice would blow my bank budget for the next 6 months! But a recent trip to Venice changed my way of thinking. It started with scoring a perfect cocktail dress in one boutique nearby the train station. As the address was down-market by Venetian standards, the lower price point didn’t surprise me though I personally was pleased as punch with my purchase. As I continued on my way through town, weaving through alleyways and crossing tiny bridges over so many canals, I finally stopped consulting my map and just let my feet do the navigating. My husband and I wandered into a gorgeous linen store, scoring some plush new hand towels for the guest bathroom again at prices so low it felt like “The Italian Job!” We then visited Fortuny and while nothing in Fortuny is a bargain, it can seem like a bargain if you’ve ever shopped Fortuny in the USA, so comparatively speaking we were saving money even if my husband had to stifle back a cough when he saw my grand total for a few pillow shams!

On a roll, we rounded a corner in the arcades not far from Piazza San Marco and stumbled into one of the most gorgeous antique shops I’ve ever been into – Antichita Marciana!

In typical Venetian fashion the exterior of the building was crumbling around itself, but the goods inside were fit for a palazzo!

Antichita Marciana specializes in 18th C paintings, furniture and special objects that will certainly be “conversation pieces” in your home! Each purchase is accompanied by a certificate of guarantee stating its period, the origin, the state of preservation and restorations done. And if you’re worried that the Italian commode (remember: commode isn’t a toilet in Europe but something similar to a buffet) won’t fit inside your carry on, don’t worry! Antichita Marciana ships worldwide, with specific transporters specialized in the care of high-end antiques and art.

For those arm chair travelers, if Venice isn’t on your travel itinerary, never fear! This shop even offers online shopping, but alas I fear the website is currently only available in Italian. There is an English option, but your mouse just hovers over it without clicking as if insisting you view this Venetian shop in the language it was meant to be seen – Italiano!

On that note, Arrivederci!

The Antiques Diva™

P.S. Stay tuned for an upcoming Diva Blog with divalicious details on Fortuny!!!

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