As an antiques dealer, or picker, I spend my days digging through great volumes of stuff trying to find the things collectors want.
On any given day, I might be at an auction, sorting and sifting through the items and boxed lots and waiting for specific items to go up for bidding. I might be driving around, going from rummage sale to garage sale to yard sale, looking over all the used clothing and household items for the vintage collectibles and antiques. I might spend hours at a single thrift shop, sorting through, piece by piece, thousands of old crafting booklets (see photo). I might be waiting in the snow for my chance to enter an estate sale. I might be waiting in the rain (or, if I’m lucky, in my car waiting out the rain) at a flea market. I might be on the way home from the grocery store and find myself stopping for an impromptu dumpster dive or negotiation with a guy just cleaning out his garage.
Such glamorous work, right? *giggle*
Most collectors appreciate these efforts and understand that’s why prices are what they are; I am paid, in part, for my efforts in finding the collectible needle in the proverbial hay stack. Collectors know how much work this is because they’ve done it themselves. Collectors pay not only because I was the finder of the keepers, but because they may not have the time to search as many places, for as many hours, as I do.
Have you ever noticed the number of people who complain about prices dealers ask for?
Not just comments made in antique malls and flea markets, but the accusations made in comments left at blog posts and forums about collecting television shows?
People seem so outraged that pickers, auction buyers, dealers, pawn show owners, et al want to buy low in order to turn a profit. As if they would sit on a floor at a thrift shop, sorting through every single craft booklet, for several hours — on the chance they’ll find anything interesting. And, should they find something deemed worthy, take the gamble on the investment hoping for a return if and when another person finds it worthy of their own collection.
If these people who complain about the unfairness of pricing had ever put in such time and effort, well, they wouldn’t complain!
(And, of course, dealers also have overhead or costs of doing business. Whether it’s a physical shop or selling online, there are costs beyond the initial cost of the item.)
I know most of you reading here are collectors — and many of you are pickers and dealers too. So you get all this. But sometimes a girl just has to defend the realities of collecting, to vent a bit. Even if it is like preaching to the choir. *wink*
(Feel free to vent yourself by leaving a comment!)