Antique dealers buy and sell old objects and collectors’ items.
Salary range: Variable
How to become an antique dealer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- working towards this role
- turning a hobby into a job
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, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You may be able to start by taking part-time or short residential courses to build up your knowledge. Courses include:
- history of art
- fine art
- decorative arts
There are no set entry requirements for this route.
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.
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.
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.
You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
What you’ll do
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 work at a store or from home.
Your working environment may be you’ll travel often.
Career path and progression
You could progress to become a specialist dealer, valuer or auctioneer.