This is where creating a strong network of friends can come in handy. Many collectors work with dealers, other collectors and friends to help them find particular pieces for their collections. The advantages to doing so are many and include: * Knowledgeable extra sets of eyes and ear can really assist in the search for specific pieces. Dealers know where to look, who to call and what to look for oftentimes when even the most knowledgeable collectors don't. * Familiarity with other collectors. Since dealers often work with multiple collectors, they might know another who has the right piece in their private collection - a piece they may be willing to let go for the correct price. * Understanding of the pieces. A friend might come across a repro, but a good dealer should be able to tell the difference. Knowledgeable dealers can help collectors avoid knock offs and replicas and are willing to do so to keep collectors coming back for more. * Possible speed up of the process. With extra eyes and ears on the case, the desired piece might be found that much quicker. There's no guarantee, especially with rare pieces, but with knowledgeable people on the hunt, it's more likely that set piece will be found. * Knowledge of the market. When a relationship has been formed with a dealer, a collector can benefit from that person's knowledge - something a dealer is generally very happy to pass along. A good dealer will help inform collectors he or she buys for about changes in the market, trends and pieces to look for or steer away from.
Developing a rapport with an antique dealer or several is a very smart thing for a collector to do, especially a serious collector. Not only will the relationship or relationships help move the collecting process along, they may also result in better buys. Dealers who have a loyal collector following tend not to gouge their collectors and will do what it takes to make all parties happy. It's good for their business and their collectors. Plus, with a little luck, fast friendships can form between dealers and their collectors.