For an antiques collector, developing relationships with good dealers can mean the difference between good buys or really, really bad ones. Even if items aren't purchased from their shops, dealers who have been working with a collector generally are more than willing to share advice and help their business friends stay away from bad investments.
Going from average collector to a serious one can be very difficult without a good knowledge base and extra sets of eyes and ears on the hunt for rare and unusual pieces for a collection. The unschooled collector might be taken for a song by a seller that's unknown and willing to pass off a reproduction as an authentic piece. This is where a good dealer comes into play.
Antique dealers make their money not only through their shops, but also by helping collectors round out and create their collections with solid, interesting pieces. Whether a collector is looking for a specific kind of glass or has a passion for antique toys, dealers can be very beneficial to have in the fold.
Buying for collectors can be the bread and butter for antique dealers - especially those who deal with a large volume of high-paying collectors. The value of antiques is derived from the "market," which simply means what people are willing to pay. Collectors drive this market and many are willing to pay above it by a little and even a lot to get their hands on a rare item. With a few collectors in their stable, an honest dealer can turn a meager business into a booming one.
Collectors looking to add a dealer or two to their resources for finding great buys for their collections should get out and actually deal. Trust those dealers who not only are knowledgeable about the collectibles that are collected personally, but also those who have a reputation for fairness and honesty. The antiques collectible market is a tight circle, so those who aren't honest are generally ferreted out quite quickly.
When a good dealer has been found, be honest with him or her about what you collect, what you're looking for and what you can pay. Develop a relationship with the person and be willing to take their advice. If you're just starting out, you can gain a lot from this.
With a good dealer or two helping fill out a collection, a modest undertaking can turn into a more than impressive array of items and even a good investment, depending on what's collected.