The antique dealer combines culture and commerce. To buy and sell paintings, furniture or trinkets, he must understand their origin and value. He needs a high degree of certainty of judgment because copies and forgeries have always existed.
Antiques dealers are generally specialists in an era, style or subject such as 18th century French furniture or Japanese or Islamic art objects. He can also choose a type of artistic expression such as painting or sculpture.
He is on the lookout for objects for art lovers. For this research, he must travel to public sales, to private individuals and colleagues, including on weekends.
Successions are an important source of supply, but the antique dealer does not neglect any lead to find interesting pieces.
The concern for documentation and specialized literature ensures that he does not make mistakes in his purchases. He must therefore read and visit museums, auction and exhibition halls.
A managerial talent must complement these qualities: risky purchasing campaigns can unbalance accounts because sales do not happen every day. Foresight and patience are required.
The antique dealer is also a merchant, but addresses a particular public, and his sense of communication must be subtle.
Some antique dealers employ salesmen. For beginners, installation is often the only solution, but you need stock and start-up capital. Some well-known antique dealers in their field carry out appraisals on behalf of insurers.
Neighbouring trades: the second-hand dealer sells objects of lesser value to a large public without guarantee.
The bookseller is a collector and seller of old books, manuscripts and “old papers” who runs a shop. It can sell to a specialized or more diversified audience.
Studies / Training to become an Antique Dealer
One becomes an antique dealer by experience by training on the job or with experienced antique dealers.
It is often the transmission of knowledge and capital by professional parents, complemented by appropriate education, that helps to get into the profession.
Art history studies and diplomas from the Ecole du Louvre are ideal.
Private schools provide “art business” training in 1, 2 or 3 years (EAC, IESA).
To settle, the antique dealer will have to make a prior declaration to the police prefecture, register in the commercial register and keep a police register.
Wages and salaries
Income is very variable. An object can be sold in a few hours… or in a few years.
The antique dealer sets his own prices according to the purchase price of the objects, their possible restorations and the demand. While the profit margin may seem high, other costs such as travel, store rent and payroll taxes must be taken into account.
For young antique dealers, the evolution in the profession consists in being recognized, making a name for themselves and owning a prestigious brand.
A passionate antique dealer arrives in Saint-Georges
Arriving directly from France, Morgan De Graeve has just dropped off his penates in Saint-Georges to open an antique shop, mainly from the old continent.
The Frenchman did not come to settle in Saint-Georges for nothing. He already knew the area well. His grandmother had participated in an exchange with a person from Saint-Georges and had worked here for a year. According to Mr. De Graeve, she fell in love with the region and even bought herself a house, which she always had, in Notre-Dame-des-Pins. She has been coming periodically for the past thirty years. From an early age, Morgan came every two years on a trip to Beauce.
With a work visa in his pocket, the European antiques and design lover opened France Antik on Lacroix Boulevard on August 9. “There’s a mixed one here. I have a lot of things coming directly from France on the first floor and down there, it’s a mix of French, Canadian and American antiques,” explains the enthusiast.
Love at first sight
Morgan De Graeve started in the business about three years ago. At first, he sold a little bit of everything, but after meeting antique dealers, one in particular, he fell in love with the business. “I love plays I’ve never seen before. I particularly like the research around the object. For me, objects must have a soul, because then people can talk about them and tell their story,” he says.
What he likes most about his job is looking for rare items. He renews his merchandise in several ways, usually by going to other antique dealers, but also thanks to the people who offer to sell him parts.
Most of the elements present at France Antik were all imported by container, directly from France. In fact, Mr. De Graeve will return to France in December to find new products and refurbish his store.
A passion to share
If we find several elements that will delight collectors, including a camera from the 1920s, a reception bar that we found in a hotel with a tin sink dating from between 1880 and 1910, there are several designer furniture as well as 1950s and 1960s, which is quite popular.
If he sometimes restores certain pieces, it is not something he does regularly. “I don’t do it often to avoid removing the seal,” explains Mr. De Graeve, pointing to a rusty perfume diffuser in a shopping mall in France. The mechanism is still inside and it’s the kind of unusual object we’ve never seen before.
“What is important to me is the relationship, what is even more important to me than making a sale, is that people leave here with a smile on their faces. It was to have been able to share a common passion. Sometimes I can spend two hours with a customer and show him the inventory it only took five minutes, the rest of the time we talked,” says Morgan De Graeve in closing.
Lorient. Rue Auguste-Nayel is home to several antique and antique store chains
Rue Auguste-Nayel, numbers 4, 5 and 6 of antiques and second-hand goods are next to the recently opened vintage shop, cours de la Bôve.
Blandine Mandin’s shop
It’s the last one on rue des antiquaires. Established in June at number 5, it already has a long history in this field. A Parisian experience, with the sales expert Drouot, then four years with Dorothée Galludec, auctioneer of the Hôtel des ventes de Lorient, gave her a solid approach to the business. She has also exhibited at numerous trade fairs and exhibitions, before deciding to set up her own business. “I walk to the crush,” she confides, “because I like to tell my stories. At home, you will find small art deco furniture, unusual objects “of the curio cabinet style”, ceramics, Breton earthenware, some paintings, drawings and original works on paper. But also original jewellery, often signed.