Our guide to antique collecting
Sydney Embray

Our guide to antique collecting

First published date January 28 2016 Amended date January 28 2016

It’s the thrill of the hunt—searching warehouses and shops for that perfect piece of vintage art, furniture, or decor to complement your collection.  The increasing popularity of home improvement programs like Antiques Roadshow, have made the search for traditional artefacts a mainstream interest.  Antiques and their potential have become more than just a hobby for some, and if you count yourself among this lot, you too can turn your love of yesteryear into a career with a course in antiques.

No matter what aspect of antiquing intrigues you, there’s a course that covers it.  Don’t be afraid to look around our guides for courses too – if there’s anything an antiques aficionado knows it’s that the search is half the fun.  Have a look and know that no matter your availability or past knowledge, there’s something here for everyone.


Wait—I don’t know anything about antiques!

So you can’t tell your Eames from your Evans – don’t panic.  If you’re an absolute beginner, a course in identifying and recognising antiques will have you pointing out the minute details in no time. On the other hand, if you’ve always been intrigued by the array of antiquities displayed in museums, a course in building collections may also strike your interest.  Either course is likely to vastly expand your knowledge of maker’s marks and valuable pieces (and impress your friends, to boot).


What will a course teach me?

While each course will delve into more specialized topics, you can expect a few things to pop up in them all.  You’ll learn the styles of some key designers as well as design elements and the “science” behind what makes something “good”.  Trips to museums will have you brushed up on art and architecture, and you’ll get a good grasp of period details and styling that makes a piece of furniture a worthy investment.  You’ll also develop a discerning eye—the antique world is plagued by forgers who look to pass off fakes on unsuspecting collectors; courses will teach you to look for certain manufacturer’s touches too unique to appear on a copy.


The entrepreneur

If you’ve long been an antiques enthusiast or have caught the entrepreneurial bug, you may be interested in a course on selling collectibles.  Successful sellers are able to predict trends—they’re able to “buy low, sell high” by making educated guesses about what will be popular in a few years.  As an antiques collector and seller, you’ll look for the characteristics of a profitable piece and learn to avoid missteps.  A course in profit from antiques will get you ready to be a knowledgeable (and successful) antiques shark.


The Hotcourses bargain hunt quiz -


What type of wood is Chippendale furniture exclusively made from?

Chippendale furniture is made of mahogany.  It usually features claw feet and artistic scroll designs.


How old does something have to be before it is considered an ‘antique’?

Normally, to be considered an antique an item has to be at least 100 years old, however many serious collectors disagree with this.


When was the first sewing machine invented?

The first sewing machine was invented in 1790, by the English inventor Thomas Saint.


by Sydney Embray