Suggested etiquette when attending an antique show

Philip & Lia Chasen

Philip & Lia Chasen

Having exhibited at hundreds of shows over 35 years, I’ve seen attendees do some unusual and sometimes unacceptable things.  As a service to the showgoing public (and also to me),  I’ve decided to write about some of them as suggested guidance.  I would think that some of them are obvious, but apparently not.

It is totally unacceptable to open a closed showcase and handle the merchandise without first asking permission.  This really has me scratching my head.  It’s completely obvious to me, but not to the people who’ve done this in my booth.  The first thing I think is that the person may accidentally damage an item.  Then I question whether this person might be a shoplifter.  It feels like someone has come into my house and started opening the drawers.

Some jokes are older than rocks.  Here are a couple.  After asking the price for an item and finding out it’s expensive, I frequently hear “Do you have a pair?” Arrgghh!  How about this reply?  “I’ve got such good taste.”   May I suggest “Thank you” or something similar?

Is it OK to negotiate?  Absolutely, it’s expected.  I suggest asking “What is your best price?” or “Can you do better?” Making an offer is also quite acceptable.  “Would you take $X?”  The dealer may say yes, no, or make a counteroffer. If you make an offer, you’re on the hook, so don’t make one if you’re not prepared to complete the transaction.

“I’ll give you $X dollars” gets some dealers quite upset.  I think it makes them feel like peddlers.  It doesn’t bother me, but some dealers see red.

It’s not OK to take photographs in a dealer’s booth without first asking permission.  Some dealers prefer that no photos be taken, as an additional layer of security.

Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog entry.

Call or write and let me know what you would like to buy, sell, or trade. philchasen@gmail or 516-922-2090. And please visit my website. chasenantiques.com

1 thought on “Suggested etiquette when attending an antique show

  1. I am looking to sell an itching of Louis icart. The itching is called SMOKE. It’s been in my family since the early 1920. It is not a fake its been reframed and seem be in fair condition. Not sure how to go about but if there is anything u can do to help I would appreciate

    Jessica lancaster

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