Artemission’s Guide to Buying Antiquities Online
Artemission’s guide to buying antiquities and ancient art online
As featured in popular retirement publication Retirement Today.
Artemission’s key tips
If you’re planning on buying antiques online, here are some do’s and don’ts from the experts at Artemission to help make sure you get what you pay for. Artemission has over 50 years’ experience working with private collectors around the world:
- What to buy? Furniture, jewellery, art, ornaments, antiques, antiquities, ancient art can seem overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Narrow down what you’re looking for to what is most attractive to you before you begin.
- Why you’re buying: Be clear on why you’re looking to buy – is this to add to your home or collection or as an investment? If you’re looking for something to enjoy at home, investment value is really secondary to whether it fits your style and needs.
- Buy from a reputable dealer: It’s fairly obvious but easy to forget when you see something you fall in love with – make sure you buy from a trusted website, which is a specialist in a specific type of antiques. More general auctions or sites won’t have a deep knowledge and any way of vetting every item in their inventory, so you will have no reassurances that the items are what they are described.
- Code of Conduct: Look for a dealer who is a member of a serious Association like International Antiquities Dealers (AIAD), as they will be bound by the association’s code of conduct.
- Do your research: There is a wealth of information available nowadays at the click of a button. Make sure you know what you’re buying inside out. Research will also mean you have an idea of the item’s value, putting you in a better place to negotiate if appropriate.
- Don’t over-haggle: You may be able to negotiate but don’t expect that to automatically be the case. If the dealer insists on a price you’re unwilling to pay, then move on.
- Double check condition: Check the condition of the item. A photo may not show all defects, repairs or restoration, so ask questions. Most dealers will be happy to reply with a short condition report.
- Look for signs of restoration: There will be telltale signs to the trained eye, which will of course affect the value of the item.
- Check out delivery methods and costs: You don’t want to risk damage, but you may also incur some high costs for delivery, especially for larger items – so make sure you know before you buy. A £200 item won’t seem like such a bargain if you have to pay the same again to get it to your home.
- Proof of provenance: The seller should provide a written guarantee the item comes from a legal source/owner. A good online dealer will provide a Certificate of Authenticity with provenance for every item and, at Artemission, a lifetime authenticity refund is also provided.
- Helpful Tip: Don’t be shy to ask how the piece should be cared for.
- I’ve changed my mind: Is there a return policy if you’re unhappy with the item?
- Be prepared to walk away: If your gut says something isn’t quite right, then often it’s best to walk away.
- Buy something you really like: You can’t beat the buzz of buying something beautiful. Remember that you will have to live with it for probably many years– so it’s better have an item you enjoy.
- Get it covered: Once the item is yours, ensure it is insured straight away.
Antoine Karawani, Artemission owner, said: “Buying antiquities can seem daunting to the first-timer, especially online, as you can’t physically see or hold the piece before you commit to buying it. But that shouldn’t put people off – ancient art can be a great investment, but it’s also about buying a little piece of history. The advice to buy an item you love is particularly important – it’s about more than just making money. You want to have enjoyment of the piece, as well as hopefully seeing it increasing in value.”
Artemission.com (Atticart Ltd.) is the leading antiquities gallery online. Starting the very first internet site dealing with authentic antiquities, Artemission specialise in ancient art from Egypt, the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, as well as Islamic Art.