There was a time when folks could buy and trade antiques and collectibles with no problems. Now? Well, the field has degenerated into bigotry and hate. Much like human culture in general, like-minded people with similar experience and education (and in many cases are selfish and me-minded) form close-knit groups and attack “newcomers” that threaten their existence.
You can see for yourself. Check out the television shows involving auctions – the sniping and insults directed to newcomers is immature at best. Join history and collecting LinkedIn groups and attempt to rub shoulders with the so-called ”elite”. They will turn on you like a kid on Christmas morning attacking presents. Never mind the fact you may have years of experience trading in a particular antique/collectible field. The misplaced hatred toward those believed to be rookies, nubies, or newcomers WILL rear it’s ugly head.
Seasoned veterans are territorial. Try setting up at a flea market for the first time. The vets will eye your booth, usually with disdain. If you sell quality items at a price cheaper than the vets, believe me, they will talk about you in a negative tone. They work together within a close-knit group, heaping false praise and positive comments to each other. In Hollywood, I call this the “Mutual Buttclutching Society”.
Those in the veteran group will start sniping and express prejudice against their “opponents”, up to and including false statements like, “He’s lying about his experience”, “She sells junk. Buy my items instead”, “He has no idea what he’s talking about”, etc. The same comments are made in LinkedIn forums. Some will even go so far as to complain about the link to your store, presenting false information to convince the site owners to remove the link, thus eliminating “competition”. Some Yahoo groups, like those involving treasure hunting and metal detecting, aren’t much better. Express an opinion and you’ll likely be banned by the “veterans”.
My advice? Ignore the pompous fools. Build your business. Do plenty of research. Learn how to appraise items to sell at adequate prices. Be aware the vets will raid your booth (or garage sale, yard sale, or estate sale) posing as a collector. He/she will talk you down to a fire sale price, or pennies on the dollar, by saying things like, “That item’s way overpriced”, “No one buys those collectibles. I’ll take them off your hands”, “I don’t have much money to spend”, etc.
Don’t fall for the ruse. Stand your ground on prices. True collectors (those who aren’t resellers, pickers, and dealers) won’t dicker over prices if you stay within the value range.
I invite you to comment on this blog entry.