Shopping for Antiques During Covid-19: Here's All You Need To Know

Posted On Wednesday, 16 September 2020 21:34

After months of lockdown and social distancing, antique collectors will be eager to get back to hunting for prized pieces, whether they find a Victorian fireplace or an antique mirror. Like many retail outlets and industries, the antique business has been hit hard by Covid-19. For the last few months, it has not been possible to hold fairs or events, and footfall has pretty much stalled. This has changed the reality of shopping for antiques. If you’re looking for a stylish piece of antique furniture, here is all you need to know about shopping for antiques in the time of Covid-19.

Shop Online

Like many industries that previously relied on in-person interactions, the antiques business has shifted a large amount of their business online. Some dealers have been turning to online sites to list their objects. The British Antique Dealers Association (BADA) helped members by uploading images of the objects they had taken to The Open Air Fair. Searching for antiques online can be a rewarding experience, often the photos of the objects are taken with care and you can clearly see the objects from all angles, giving you a real sense of what the object looks like. The description of the item should give you all the information you need to help make your decision on whether to buy or not. Take the plunge and try shopping online for your antiques, even if you’re used to buying in person. 

Online Auctions

Many auction houses have shifted to a model of online auctions where there are no bidders in the room, and all bidding takes place online via the internet, commission book and phone. Auction houses have been seeing an increase in online buying activity as people shift away from the sales room and retreat to the safety of their own homes. These auctions are being made as accessible as possible as the trend clearly shows people committed to bidding online. Therefore, it is as easy as ever for you to take part in an online auction and grab yourself some great items.

Drop ins and Appointments

In July, as restrictions began to lift in the UK, many dealerships and galleries reopened. Although the majority of activity is now taking place online, some galleries will be allowing scheduled drop ins and appointments to allow you to see the pieces. You may need to wear a mask whilst there. Check ahead if the gallery you would like to visit is offering these drop ins, and you can schedule a visit to see the pieces in person. Being able to browse, in a safe and socially distanced way, may go some way to making the experience of shopping for antiques feel more normal. 

Browse

Take a leaf out of this antique-lover’s guide to surviving a coronavirus lockdown and use your time at home as an opportunity to browse and do your research. You can sit back and really look around to see what is out there. If you can’t commit to buying items at the moment, you can still look for certain styles or pieces that catch your eye - there’s no harm in looking! Then, when you’re in a position to make a purchase, you’ll know what it is you’re searching for, helping you to potentially find it more quickly.

Digital Viewing Rooms

Some galleries are creating digital viewing rooms to improve the experience of the customer online, and to act as an online extension of the gallery. These viewing rooms can be 3D and create virtual exhibition spaces so that you can view items in an interactive and engaging way. Whilst the online selling of art and antiques had been an emerging trend over the last few years, the limitations due to the coronavirus crisis has made little choice but for places to invest more heavily in online sales. It will be the real test of the industry to see how this continues and if people remain switched to an online way of buying, especially when many will be buying sight-unseen. A 3D viewing room helps to bridge that experience slightly and offer the best way of ‘seeing’ the items whilst not being in the room physically.

Delivery

Do note that it may take longer at the moment to receive your items, especially if they are larger pieces of furniture, as it is taking longer to arrange shipping and to pack up items in a socially distanced way. 

Conclusion 

In a time when we have all been spending a lot more time at home, many of us will have been thinking of ways to improve them. You may have already picked that perfect item that you’d like to spruce up a room, or you may know what it is you’re looking for, and be equipped with what to look out for in the online lots. Whether that rings true for you, or if you’re just itching to get back to searching for great antiques as you like the thrill of getting something beautiful for a good price, hopefully this guide gives you the information and confidence you need to shop for antiques during Covid-19. 

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